How the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Works

Through exercise and health education, the expert exercise physiologists and registered nurses at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Cardiac Rehabilitation program work with patients' cardiologists to help patients who are recovering from heart procedures or who are experiencing condition improve their quality of life.

Getting Started

If you already are in RWJUH for a procedure, your care team will provide you with valuable information during your hospital stay that will guide you through a successful transition to the program.

If you are not a current patient at the hospital, you would need a referral. If your cardiologist recommends cardiac rehab, the first step would be for you to call your nearest RWJUH cardiac rehab location to begin the registration process.

Our staff will verify your insurance coverage and let you know if there will be any out-of-pocket costs. Then they will contact your cardiologist for a formal referral.

Assessment and Planning

Prior to starting rehab, you will be evaluated based on an exercise tolerance stress test and the medical history provided by your physician. All data will be reviewed by our team and an individualized treatment plan will be generated for you.

Your cardiologist will work with exercise physiologists and registered nurses to make sure you understand:

  • your physical condition and its medical ramifications
  • how cardiac rehab will help you achieve a better quality of life
  • what steps you will need to take to move forward

The team will set measurable goals and encourage and support you throughout the rehab process.

During your second week of rehab, your team will customize a home exercise program for you so you can maintain cardiac fitness even after your prescribed time in the rehab program is over.


While you are exercising, a member of our professional staff will continuously monitor your heart rate. There is always a physician on site and available if your heart registers any unusual activity.

Nurses will also take your blood pressure at least once during a session -- more if necessary.

The registered nurse who monitors your exercise regimen will provide valuable information about your progress and condition to your cardiologist to ensure that your medical care team is fully informed.

Health Education

Your care team will teach you about best practices for heart-healthy living. They'll also assess whether you need help to decrease heart disease risk factors, such as diet, weight, and smoking, and connect you with counseling services. For example, those with dietary concerns will be connected with RWJUH's nutrition counseling services, and people addicted to nicotine or tobacco products will learn about the RWJ Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery (IFPR) Quit Center.

After Treatment

Cardiac fitness is forever. Your physician may determine that you no longer need cardiac rehab. That would be cause for celebration. But the lessons you learn about heart-healthy living should enable you to make lifestyle changes that can make a difference in your future.

To help sustain the momentum from rehab, RWJUH offers the Cardiac Wellness Program at the New Brunswick and Old Bridge locations of the RWJ Fitness and Wellness Center.

Patient Stories

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