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Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

cardiac rehabCardiac rehabilitation, or simply “cardiac rehab,” helps you take an active role in improving your heart health. This outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program of medically supervised lifestyle and exercise is for patients who have cardiovascular disease or are recovering from heart surgery or a cardiac procedure. Our program also provides you with education and counseling services that can help reduce your risk of future heart problems.

Our cardiac rehabilitation centers, available at each of our 11 hospitals, offer you an array of tools that will help you not only manage your condition but prevent it from worsening, all while making sure that you have the best quality of life ahead of you. Our cardiac rehabilitation centers are able to consistently meet or exceed national benchmarks with regards to quality, outcomes and patient satisfaction. This accomplishment has led to multiple of our centers toward earning accreditations by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) and The Joint Commission (TJC).

Requesting an Appointment

Please consult with your cardiologist to see if he or she thinks you would be a good candidate for this program. Also, depending on your insurance, you may need a referral from your cardiologist or you may make a self-referral. For a self-referral, please contact us or request an appointment online.

Who Would Be a Good Candidate

Cardiac rehabilitation is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Though cardiac rehabilitation does not change your past, it allows you to take charge of your health and can help improve your heart’s future. In particular, you may benefit if your medical history includes:

What to Expect During Your First Visit

cardiac rehabilitationDuring your first visit, your center’s cardiac nurse will generally perform an initial evaluation to check your physical abilities, medical limitations and other conditions you may have. Ongoing evaluations can help your health care team keep track of your progress over time. During your evaluation, your health care team may look at your risk factors for heart complications, particularly during exercise. This can help your team tailor a cardiac rehabilitation program to meet your individual needs, and the team can make sure it's safe and effective for you. Generally, the goals of a cardiac rehab program are:

  • Improve your heart health
  • Decrease risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease
  • Increase knowledge regarding your cardiac condition and ways to managing it.
  • Enhance your level of overall physical fitness and well-being
  • Increase functional capacity (the ability to carry out activities)
  • Improve your quality of life
  • Improve your emotional stability
  • Enhance your level of overall confidence

What to Expect Throughout the Program

Cardiac Rehabilitation is a total health and fitness program designed to benefit patients recently hospitalized or going under specific treatment for coronary heart disease. Our staff provides the individualized support and attention each patient needs to recover quickly and resume a full, satisfying life. Our Cardiac Rehabilitation program is comprised of 3 phases:

cardiac rehabilitationPhase I (Inpatient bedside care management): This phase combines instruction and education concerning cardiac disease and the necessary plan of treatment. If you undergo heart surgery and are considered a candidate for cardiac rehabilitation, a physical therapist or exercise physiologist will become part of your recovery team, along with your physician, nurses, dieticians and social worker. Our team will discuss the various lifestyle factors and conditions that increase your probability of developing heart disease. These risk factors include stress, smoking, hypertension, sedentary lifestyle, high fat diet and diabetes mellitus.

Patients who have had surgery will begin an exercise program with walking and stair training that will them return to the activities of daily living.

cardiac rehabPhase II (Outpatient medically supervised monitored exercise program): This phase is designed to assist you in establishing a healthy lifestyle by reducing your cardiac risk factors. The team develops an exercise regime based on your exercise stress test results (if recommended by your cardiologist), medical history and physician prescription. Designed to fit your needs and abilities, your workouts are conducted under the supervision of a registered nurse or certified exercise physiologist who monitors your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation to measure your body’s response to exercise. The program consists of hour-long sessions of instruction and monitored exercise 3-5 days per week for a maximum 36 sessions depending your risk stratification determined on your initial visit.

The program is supervised by the Medical Director who is on site during exercise sessions and you will be monitored with EKG during exercise.

Phase III (Lifestyle modification and management): This phase will help you set goals to improve heart health and then work with your healthcare team on ways to reach these goals both physically and emotionally. Graduates of Phase II are encouraged to enroll in this stage. This non-monitored exercise program stage is designed to foster the independence and self-awareness necessary for a heart-healthy lifestyle. Prior to completing Phase II and Phase III programs, an individualized, safe, home exercise program will be developed for you.

Access to the Latest Medical and Clinical Research

RWJBarnabas Health Heart, Vascular & Thoracic also prides itself in providing patients with the opportunity to have access to the latest technology and medical advancements via participation in some of the most renowned clinical studies offered. As you are aware, clinical studies help bridge research and patient care by evaluating therapies, drugs and diagnostic tools to drive discoveries into clinical practice. To learn more about our clinical trials, please visit our Clinical Trials page.