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Cardiac rehabilitation


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Cardiac rehabilitation or cardiac rehab (CR) is a holistically designed program for individuals with heart problems. It combines exercise with lifestyle changes as well as offers education and support to heart patients. The entire process is performed under supervision of doctors.


Purpose of cardiac rehabilitation

It helps patients in the following ways:

  • Helps you to understand your medical condition associated with your heart
  • Helps you to understand the risk factors (like obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure etc.) for heart disease and eliminate them to prevent a future heart attack
  • Helps you to recover from angina, heart attack, heart failure, surgery and other medical procedures
  • Useful for people with heart transplant, stents, pacemaker etc.
  • Offers counsling and emotional support to improve lifestyle and cope with the condition


How to prepare for cardiac rehabilitation program?

If it’s an inpatient procedure then your doctors will initiate immediately after your recovery. Otherwise, you need to visit a hospital having CR facility. Your doctor will diagnose your health and conduct medical tests and explain you the procedure before initiating.


Phases of cardiac rehabilitation program

Phase 1

The first phase begins in the hospital and it covers up the period after you have suffered a cardiac complication.  The rehab team will take care of your physical abilities – day to day movement, ability to exercise, self care and identifying activities that are safe for you.

The risk factors for heart disease will be measured after which diet, lifestyle modifications and counseling will be offered to speed up recovery.

Phase 2

This stage is an outpatient procedure and is initiated after you are discharged from the hospital. Your appointments will be scheduled in the hospital hereafter. Phase 2 is basically directed towards increasing you level of physical activity. The team will help you learn the range of motion exercise that would boost your fitness and heart health. You have to perform those exercises at home.

For example- walking, cycling, jogging, stretching, etc.  

Phase 3

Phase 3 is specially a maintenance program that is customized for patients. The team offers complete guidance on diet, lifestyle and personal advice also (e.g. sexual health). You will be given a heart smart diet and will also be educated about unhealthy foods that you must ditch.

Rehab doctors will also help you to quit smoking and cut down alcohol or any other lifestyle risk factor applicable to patients. 

Phase 4

Phase 4 is a support and counseling program and it is optional. Patients who need special care, for example to overcome anxiety, depression, stress, personal pressure, etc. can resort to Phase 4 to receive counseling and thereby overcome the challenges.


Duration of cardiac rehabilitation program

It might last for 3 months or continue till years. The duration of cardiac rehab program differs from one individual to another and it depends on the patient’s health, his/her efforts and response of the body.


Benefits of attending cardiac rehabilitation program

  • You receive ample care and supervision which certainly is fruitful for your health in many ways
  • The program is customized for each patient and is designed after evaluating the health and need of the patient
  • It increases an individual’s dedication and concern towards his/her body which further sustains the motivation to exercise and follow doctors’ advice religiously.
  • Interaction between patients and doctors proves educative and helps to sort out many issues
  • Most importantly, helps you to minimize risks of future heart complication very effectively.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: October 16, 2014 

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