Cardiac Home Education and Support Trial (CHEST): A pilot study
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BACKGROUND: Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is performed more frequently in individuals who are older and sicker than in previous years. Increased patient acuity and reduced hospital length of stays leave individuals ill prepared for their recovery. OBJECTIVES: To test the feasibility of a peer support program and determine indicators of the effects of peer support on recovery outcomes of individuals following CABG surgery. METHODS AND RESULTS: A pre-post test pilot randomized clinical trial design enrolled men and women undergoing first-time nonemergency CABG surgery at a single site in Ontario. Patients were randomly assigned to either usual care or peer support. Patients allocated to usual care (n=50) received standard preoperative and postoperative education. Patients in the peer support group (n=45) received individualized education and support via telephone from trained cardiac surgery peer volunteers for eight weeks following hospital discharge. Most (93%) peer volunteers believed they were prepared for their role, with 98% of peer volunteers initiating calls within 72 h of the patient's discharge. Peer volunteers made an average of 12 calls, less than 30 min in duration over the eight-week recovery period. Patients were satisfied with their peer support (n=45, 98%). The intervention group reported statistical trends toward improved physical function (physical component score) (t =-1.6; P=0.12) role function (t =-1.9; P=0.06), less pain (t =1.30; P=0.20) and improved cardiac rehabilitation enrollment (chi2=2.50, P=0.11). CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary results suggest that peer support may improve recovery outcomes following CABG. Data from the present pilot trial also indicate that a home-based peer support intervention is feasible and an adequately powered trial should be conducted.
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