Int J Clin Pharm. 2022 Nov 19. doi: 10.1007/s11096-022-01517-1. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a predominant cause of mortality. Pharmacists play an important role in secondary prevention of CVD, however, their role in cardiac rehabilitation is under-reported and services are under-utilised.
AIM: To explore the role of pharmacists in cardiac rehabilitation, the impact of their interventions on patient outcomes, and prospects of future role development.
METHOD: Databases searched were PubMed, Embase, Medline, Cochrane Library, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and PsycINFO from January 2006 to October 2021. Randomised and non-randomised controlled trials were selected if they assessed the role of pharmacists in cardiac rehabilitation. Cochrane risk of bias tool, Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Critical Appraisal Tool for Quasi-Experimental Studies and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH) quality assessment tool, were used to assess quality and a narrative synthesis was conducted.
RESULTS: The search yielded 786 studies, only five met the inclusion criteria. The pharmacist-led interventions included patient education, medication review and reconciliation, and medication adherence encouragement. Four out of the five studies showed that pharmacist-led interventions in cardiac rehabilitation significantly improved patient clinical and non-clinical outcomes. One study showed a statistically significant reduction in low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels to optimal target of < 70 mg/dL (80% vs 60%, p = 0.0084). Two studies reported better medication adherence, and two studies showed greater improvement in all domains of health-related quality of life observed in the intervention group.
CONCLUSION: Pharmacist-led interventions in cardiac rehabilitation could lower CVD risk factors and hence recurrence. Although these findings support pharmacists’ involvement in cardiac rehabilitation, larger intervention studies are needed to evaluate the feasibility of pharmacist-led interventions and their impact on hospital admissions and mortality risk.