York, Qatar Universities launch first International Cardiac Rehabilitation Registry

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York University and Qatar University collaborate to launch the first-ever International Cardiac Rehabilitation Registry.

With the International Council of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, researchers from Qatar and York Universities have led the development of the first International Cardiac Rehabilitation Registry (ICRR). Designed for cardiac rehabilitation programs in low-resource settings, programs can assess the quality of their programs and benchmark it against other programs around the world, thereby improving outcomes for patients.

Cardiac rehabilitation is an outpatient chronic disease management program, where a team of experts support patients to adopt life-saving heart-health practices such as exercise, healthy eating, medication adherence and stress management. Participation in these programs improves quality of life, as well as reduces hospitalization and death by 20 per cent.

To ensure that patients get the greatest benefit out of their rehab, international guidelines recommend programs evaluate the quality of their services. The registry enables this, which is particularly important for programs in low- and middle-income countries where resources to do this may not be available, yet there are so many patients to treat. Through the registry, programs can identify areas where they might be struggling, and the registry team will then support them to improve their processes.

Development and now the operation of the registry is led by experts from Qatar University, Karam Turk-Adawi (co-PI), and York University, Professor Sherry L. Grace (co-PI), with others from the International Council of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, with financial resources through a collaborative fund by Qatar University, Qatar, and York University, Canada (the International Research Collaborative Co-Fund, IRCC-2020-005). More details about the registry can be found online and are published in the journal Global Heart.

Sherry Grace
Sherry Grace

“A stepwise, evidence-based process was followed to develop the registry,” said Grace, who is also affiliated with University Health Network. “A research protocol was approved, an international panel of experts was convened to finalize the variable list, a governance structure was implemented, and usability testing undertaken to ensure the best registry.”

“The registry will also enable international research, so we can better understand the impact of cardiac rehab in countries where it has never been studied, long-term patient outcomes, what cardiac rehab practices are associated with better outcomes, and what quality improvement strategies work,” said Turk-Adawi.

Qatar’s Professor Al Thani also said that tackling global issues through partnerships is embedded in Qatar University’s strategic plan. “Collaboration with York University and the International Council of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation will impact chronic disease management worldwide.”


The International Council of Cardiovascular and Prevention and Rehabilitation (ICCPR) brings together societies around the world dedicated to the secondary prevention of heart diseases. Central to their mission is promoting high-quality cardiac rehabilitation services where they are needed most. Learn more at globalcardiacrehab.com