Interventions to support return to work for people with coronary heart disease.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 03 14; 3:CD010748.CD
People with coronary heart disease (CHD) often require prolonged absences from work to convalesce after acute disease events like myocardial infarctions (MI) or revascularisation procedures such as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Reduced functional capacity and anxiety due to CHD may further delay or prevent return to work.
To assess the effects of person- and work-directed interventions aimed at enhancing return to work in patients with coronary heart disease compared to usual care or no intervention.
We searched the databases CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, NIOSHTIC, NIOSHTIC-2, HSELINE, CISDOC, and LILACS through 11 October 2018. We also searched the US National Library of Medicine registry, clinicaltrials.gov, to identify ongoing studies.
We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) examining return to work among people with CHD who were provided either an intervention or usual care. Selected studies included only people treated for MI or who had undergone either a CABG or PCI. At least 80% of the study population should have been working prior to the CHD and not at the time of the trial, or study authors had to have considered a return-to-work subgroup. We included studies in all languages. Two review authors independently selected the studies and consulted a third review author to resolve disagreements.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two review authors extracted data and independently assessed the risk of bias. We conducted meta-analyses of rates of return to work and time until return to work. We considered the secondary outcomes, health-related quality of life and adverse events among studies where at least 80% of study participants were eligible to return to work.
We found 39 RCTs (including one cluster- and four three-armed RCTs). We included the return-to-work results of 34 studies in the meta-analyses.Person-directed, psychological counselling versus usual careWe included 11 studies considering return to work following psychological interventions among a subgroup of 615 participants in the meta-analysis. Most interventions used some form of counselling to address participants' disease-related anxieties and provided information on the causes and course of CHD to dispel misconceptions. We do not know if these interventions increase return to work up to six months (risk ratio (RR) 1.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.84 to 1.40; six studies; very low-certainty evidence) or at six to 12 months (RR 1.24, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.63; seven studies; very low-certainty evidence). We also do not know if psychological interventions shorten the time until return to work. Psychological interventions may have little or no effect on the proportion of participants working between one and five years (RR 1.09, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.34; three studies; low-certainty evidence).Person-directed, work-directed counselling versus usual careFour studies examined work-directed counselling. These counselling interventions included advising patients when to return to work based on treadmill testing or extended counselling to include co-workers' fears and misconceptions regarding CHD. Work-directed counselling may result in little to no difference in the mean difference (MD) in days until return to work (MD -7.52 days, 95% CI -20.07 to 5.03 days; four studies; low-certainty evidence). Work-directed counselling probably results in little to no difference in cardiac deaths (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.19 to 5.39; two studies; moderate-certainty evidence).Person-directed, physical conditioning interventions versus usual careNine studies examined the impact of exercise programmes. Compared to usual care, we do not know if physical interventions increase return to work up to six months (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.41; four studies; very low-certainty evidence). Physical conditioning interventions may result in little to no difference in return-to-work rates at six to 12 months (RR 1.09, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.20; five studies; low-certainty evidence), and may also result in little to no difference on the rates of patients working after one year (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.30; two studies; low-certainty evidence). Physical conditioning interventions may result in little to no difference in the time needed to return to work (MD -7.86 days, 95% CI -29.46 to 13.74 days; four studies; low-certainty evidence). Physical conditioning interventions probably do not increase cardiac death rates (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.35 to 2.80; two studies; moderate-certainty evidence).Person-directed, combined interventions versus usual careWe included 13 studies considering return to work following combined interventions in the meta-analysis. Combined cardiac rehabilitation programmes may have increased return to work up to six months (RR 1.56, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.98; number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) 5; four studies; low-certainty evidence), and may have little to no difference on return-to-work rates at six to 12 months' follow-up (RR 1.06, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.13; 10 studies; low-certainty evidence). We do not know if combined interventions increased the proportions of participants working between one and five years (RR 1.14, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.37; six studies; very low-certainty evidence) or at five years (RR 1.09, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.38; four studies; very low-certainty evidence). Combined interventions probably shortened the time needed until return to work (MD -40.77, 95% CI -67.19 to -14.35; two studies; moderate-certainty evidence). Combining interventions probably results in little to no difference in reinfarctions (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.23 to 1.40; three studies; moderate-certainty evidence).Work-directed, interventionsWe found no studies exclusively examining strictly work-directed interventions at the workplace.