Cardiac Rehab

Patients recovering from heart disease may be prescribed cardiac rehab. It generally begins in the hospital and is continued in an outpatient facility. Exercise training is the first part of a rehabilitation program. You learn how to exercise safely, strengthen your muscles, and improve your stamina. The second part of the program involves education, counseling, and training to help you reduce your risk for future heart problems.

What Is Cardiac Rehab?

Cardiac rehabilitation, or cardiac rehab for short, is designed to help patients with heart disease recover faster and return to full and productive lives. Aspects of cardiac rehab include:
 
  • Exercise
  • Education
  • Counseling
  • Learning how to live a healthier life.
 
Your doctor may prescribe cardiac rehab for angina or after bypass surgery, angioplasty, a heart transplant, or a heart attack. Together with medical and surgical treatments, rehab can help you to:
 
  • Recover faster
  • Feel better
  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce the risks of future heart problems
  • Develop a healthier lifestyle.
     
Almost everyone with heart disease can benefit from some type of cardiac rehab. No one is too old or too young. Women benefit from it as much as men.
 

When Does It Start?

Cardiac rehab often begins in the hospital after a heart attack, heart surgery, or other heart treatment. It continues in an outpatient setting after you leave the hospital. After you have learned the skills of heart-healthy living, you should continue to use them for life.
 
You need your doctor's approval to get started in cardiac rehab. Tell your doctor or nurse that you're interested in cardiac rehabilitation, and ask which rehab services or plans are best for you.
 
(Click Starting Cardiac Rehabilitation for more information on this topic.)
 
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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