Physical Activity after Cardiac EventS (PACES) - a group education programme with subsequent text-message support designed to increase physical activity in individuals with diagnosed coronary heart disease: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.

BACKGROUND: Coronary heart disease (CHD) represents approximately 13% of deaths worldwide and is the leading cause of death in the UK with considerable associated health care costs. After a CHD event, timely cardiac rehabilitation optimises patient outcomes. However, a high percentage of these services do not meet necessary performance indicators such as course length and follow-up attendance. Uptake of such services is only 50% in UK patients and support provided 12 months after an event is often limited. To delay and prevent further CHD events leading to hospitalisation, supplementary self-management strategies such as group education, are necessary. METHODS: This is a single-centre, randomised controlled trial (RCT) recruiting participants (n = 290) aged ≥18 years who are 12 to 48 months post diagnosis of a CHD-related cardiac event (myocardial infarction, angina and any other acute coronary syndrome). The study aims to implement a structured education programme, with text-message support over 12 months, and identify whether delivery of the programme, to individuals who have a history of a cardiac event, would be an effective and cost-effective strategy for increasing walking. The primary outcome, objectively measured average daily physical activity, specifically step count through walking activity, is assessed using the wrist-worn GENEActiv accelerometer at baseline, 6 and 12 months. Secondary outcomes at 12 months include cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking status, blood pressure, lipid profile, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), obesity, self-efficacy, quality of life, physical activity and physical function. Participants are randomised to either the control group receiving standard care and a physical activity information leaflet, or the intervention group whose partcipants receive the leaflet and are invited to attend two group-based structured education sessions. These encourage participants to adopt and maintain healthy behaviours and self-manage their lifestyle. They are delivered approximately 2 weeks apart by trained facilitators and reinforced via subsequent text-message support. DISCUSSION: To our knowledge, this is the first trial designed to assess the effectiveness of a group education programme 12 to 48 months after a CHD event diagnosis. If successful, the PACES programme could be translated into effective post-operative cardiac care and complement the current post-operative services available. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN, ID: ISRCTN91163727 . The trial was registered on 27 February 2017.