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Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of an Integrative Cardiac Wellness Program (ICWP) for cardiothoracic surgery patients on postoperative recovery, bleeding risk, satisfaction and participation in rehabilitation programs. Design: An open label study whereby ICWP participants were compared to a historical control group that received usual care at the same hospital. Methods: Patients enrolled at pre-admission clinics took metabolic supplements (CoQ10, magnesium orotate, alpha lipoic acid, omega 3 fatty acids) three times daily from enrolment until surgery and for 4 weeks afterwards. Between postoperative days 3–7, patients received individualised health education from a naturopath followed by a phone call post-discharge. The control group consisted of elective cardiothoracic patients receiving usual care prior to the ICWP commencing. Data was collected from medical records, a survey and interviews. Results: Data from 922 patients were analysed. ICWP participants (n = 337) were well matched with controls (n = 585) for age, gender and history of hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes and smoking. Multivariate analysis found that CABG ICWP patients had a relative reduction of 42% for postoperative inotrope (cardiac stimulants) support compared to controls (p < 0.001). Similarly, the ICWP valve surgery patients had 40% relative reduction in the incidence of postoperative inotrope support compared to controls (p = 0.02). There was no significant difference between the treatment and control groups in the incidence of serious bleeding events, defined as return to theatre due to haemorrhage or blood transfusion requirements. ICWP patients gave positive feedback of their experience and there was a 46% increase in attendance at rehabilitation programs compared to controls (p = 0.033). Conclusions: The ICWP is safe, improves postoperative heart function, is well accepted by patients and has long-term patient benefits by improving attendance at rehabilitation.


School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine

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Journal Article

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