CATEGORY: eHealth, Health monitoring, e-Health applications, Cardiovascular diseases, Virtual Assistant, Remote patient monitoring
SOURCE: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, FEB. 22, 20(5), 3937;;

Assessing the Efficacy of a Virtual Assistant in the Remote Cardiac Rehabilitation of Heart Failure and Ischemic Heart Disease Patients: Case-Control Study of Romanian Adult Patients

Andreea LăcraruȘtefan-Sebastian BusnatuMaria-Alexandra PanăGabriel OlteanuLiviu ȘerbănoiuKai GandHannes SchlieterSofoklis KyriazakosOctavian CebanCătălina Liliana Andrei & Crina-Julieta Sinescu


Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of mortality in Europe, with potentially more than 60 million deaths per year, with an age-standardized rate of morbidity-mortality higher in men than women, exceeding deaths from cancer. Heart attacks and strokes account for more than four out of every five CVD fatalities globally. After a patient overcomes an acute cardiovascular event, they are referred for rehabilitation to help them to restore most of their normal cardiac functions. One effective way to provide this activity regimen is via virtual models or telerehabilitation, where the patient can avail themselves of the rehabilitation services from the comfort of their homes at designated timings. Under the funding of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program, grant no 769807, a virtual rehabilitation assistant has been designed for elderly patients (vCare), with the overall objective of supporting recovery and an active life at home, enhancing patients’ quality of life, lowering disease-specific risk factors, and ensuring better adherence to a home rehabilitation program. In the vCare project, the Carol Davila University of Bucharest (UMFCD) was in charge of the heart failure (HF) and ischemic heart disease (IHD) groups of patients. By creating a digital environment at patients’ homes, the vCare system’s effectiveness, use, and feasibility was evaluated. A total of 30 heart failure patients and 20 ischemic heart disease patients were included in the study. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions and a few technical difficulties, HF and IHD patients who performed cardiac rehabilitation using the vCare system had similar results compared to the ambulatory group, and better results compared to the control group.