Elsevier Logo

English

ThisisPatientEngagementcontent

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR PATIENT GOES HOME?

Learn more about our Patient Engagement products now! Turn your patients into active participants in their healthcare by giving them easy access to the same evidence-based information you trust – but delivered in an easy-to-understand format.

Apr.08.2020
 Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac Rehabilitation

What is cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation is a treatment program that helps improve the health and well-being of people who have heart problems. Cardiac rehabilitation includes exercise training, education, and counseling to help you get stronger and return to an active lifestyle. This program can help you get better faster and reduce any future hospital stays.

Why might I need cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation programs can help when you have or have had:
  • A heart attack.
  • Heart failure.
  • Peripheral artery disease.
  • Coronary artery disease.
  • Angina.
  • Lung or breathing problems.

Cardiac rehabilitation programs are also used when you have had:
  • Coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
  • Heart valve replacement.
  • Heart stent placement.
  • Heart transplant.
  • Aneurysm repair.

What are the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation can help you:
  • Reduce problems like chest pain and trouble breathing.
  • Change risk factors that contribute to heart disease, such as:
    • Smoking.
    • High blood pressure.
    • High cholesterol.
    • Diabetes.
    • Being inactive.
    • Weighing over 30% more than your ideal weight.
    • Diet.
  • Improve your emotional outlook so you feel:
    • More hopeful.
    • Better about yourself.
    • More confident about taking care of yourself.
  • Get support from health experts as well as other people with similar problems.
  • Learn healthy ways to manage stress.
  • Learn how to manage and understand your medicines.
  • Teach your family about your condition and how to participate in your recovery.

What happens in cardiac rehabilitation?

You will be assessed by a cardiac rehabilitation team. They will check your health history and do a physical exam. You may need blood tests, exercise stress tests, and other evaluations to make sure that you are ready to start cardiac rehabilitation.

The cardiac rehabilitation team works with you to make a plan based on your health and goals. Your program will be tailored to fit you and your needs and may change as you progress. You may work with a health care team that includes:
  • Doctors.
  • Nurses.
  • Dietitians.
  • Psychologists.
  • Exercise specialists.
  • Physical and occupational therapists.

What are the phases of cardiac rehabilitation?

A cardiac rehabilitation program is often divided into phases. You advance from one phase to the next.

Phase 1

This phase starts while you are still in the hospital. You may:
  • Start by walking in your room and then in the hall.
  • Do some simple exercises with a therapist.

Phase 2

This phase begins when you go home or to another facility. You will travel to a cardiac rehabilitation center or another place where rehabilitation is offered. This phase may last 8–12 weeks. During this phase:
  • You will slowly increase your activity level while being closely watched by a nurse or therapist.
  • You will have medical tests and exams to monitor your progress.
  • Your exercises may include strength or resistance training along with activities that cause your heart to beat faster (aerobic exercises), such as walking on a treadmill.
  • Your condition will determine how often and how long these sessions last.
  • You may learn how to:
    • Cook heart-healthy meals.
    • Control your blood sugar, if this applies.
    • Stop smoking.
    • Manage your medicines. You may need help with scheduling or planning how and when to take your medicines. If you have questions about your medicines, it is very important that you talk with your health care provider.

Phase 3

This phase continues for the rest of your life. In this phase:
  • There will be less supervision.
  • You may continue to participate in cardiac rehabilitation activities or become part of a group in your community.
  • You may benefit from talking about your experience with other people who are facing similar challenges.

Follow these instructions at home:

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Get help right away if:

  • You have severe chest discomfort, especially if the pain is crushing or pressure-like and spreads to your arms, back, neck, or jaw. Do not wait to see if the pain will go away.
  • You have weakness or numbness in your face, arms, or legs, especially on one side of the body.
  • Your speech is slurred.
  • You are confused.
  • You have a sudden, severe headache or loss of vision.
  • You have shortness of breath.
  • You are sweating and have nausea.
  • You feel dizzy or faint.
  • You are fatigued.

These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.). Do not drive yourself to the hospital.

Summary

  • Cardiac rehabilitation is a treatment program that helps improve the health and well-being of people who have heart problems.
  • A cardiac rehabilitation program is often divided into phases. You advance from one phase to the next.
  • The cardiac rehabilitation team works with you to make a plan based on your health and goals.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation includes exercise training, education, and counseling to help you get stronger and return to an active lifestyle.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

;