Daniels, Karla M.; Arena, Ross; Lavie, Carl J.; Forman, Daniel E.
Cardiac rehabilitation improves function and compliance and also reduces morbidity and mortality in female and male cardiovascular disease patients but remains significantly underutilized. At every age, and especially in their senior years, female cardiovascular disease patients are under-referred relative to men. Lack of standardized referral processes, misconceptions by physicians and patients, and idiosyncrasies of female pathophysiology contribute to this pattern. Moreover, confounding factors of age, socioeconomic status, and sex-specific roles and responsibilities exacerbate the problem. This review summarizes barriers to cardiac rehabilitation for female cardiac patients, and highlights opportunities for increased participation and benefit. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. The American Journal of Medicine (2012) 125, 937.e1-937.e7