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Mobile health interventions can improve medication adherence and physical activity in patients with cardiovascular disease

Pfaeffli DL, Dobson R, Whittaker R, et al. The effectiveness of mobile-health behaviour change interventions for cardiovascular disease self-management: A systematic review European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. 2015 October.

Review question

Are mobile wireless devices for health (mHealth) effective in supporting lifestyle changes and adherence to medication in patients with cardiovascular disease?


Unhealthy lifestyle behaviours and modifiable individual risk factors are responsible for about 80% of cardiovascular disease cases.

Cardiac rehabilitation programs attempt to educate and support patients to make healthy lifestyle changes (e.g. regular physical activity, eating healthy diets, smoking cessation). However, attendance has remained low due to significant barriers, such as lack of transportation or embarrassment.

Due to the widespread usage of mobile phones, mobile wireless devices for health (mHealth) should be explored as an effective means to communicate health-related information for the management of cardiovascular disease and guide future intervention development.

How the review was done

A detailed search of a number of electronic databases for studies published up to March 2015 was conducted. Studies that tested how mHealth interventions affected the lifestyle behaviours of patients of all ages with cardiovascular disease were included in the search.

A total of 3,456 studies were identified in searches and seven were included in the review after assessment for eligibility.

This review did not receive any financial support.

What the researchers found

Some studies found mHealth improved medication adherence and levels of physical activity.

No observable changes were found in dietary behaviours or smoking cessation, although these health outcomes were each only measured in one study.

More research is required to determine the effectiveness of mHealth in influencing dietary changes and smoking cessation in patients with cardiovascular disease.


mHealth interventions improve medication adherence and increase levels of physical activity in patients with cardiovascular disease. Due to the small number of existing studies, the effectiveness of mHealth in promoting favourable dietary changes and smoking cessation cannot be determined, and additional high-quality research is needed.


Risk factors
Aspects making a condition more likely.
The body's network of blood vessels. It includes the arteries, veins, and capillaries that carry blood to and from the heart.

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