Cardiac rehabilitation is a comprehensive exercise, education, and behavioral modification program designed to improve the physical and emotional condition of patients with heart disease.
Man undergoing cardiac rehabilitation after receiving a heart transplant.
Heart attack survivors, bypass and angioplasty patients, and individuals with angina, congestive heart failure, and heart transplants are all candidates for a cardiac rehabilitation program. Cardiac rehabilitation is prescribed to control symptoms, improve exercise tolerance, and improve the overall quality of life in these patients.
Acardiac rehabilitation program should be implemented and closely monitored by a trained team of healthcare professionals.
Cardiac rehabilitation is overseen by a specialized team of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Members of the cardiac rehabilitation team may include a dietician or nutritionist, physical therapist, exercise physiologist, psychologist, vocational counselor, occupational therapist, and social worker. The program frequently begins in a hospital setting and continues on an outpatient basis after the patient is discharged over a period of six to 12 months.
Components of a cardiac rehabilitation program vary by individual clinical need, and each program will be carefully constructed for the patient by his or her rehabilitation team.
Long-term maintenance is a critical feature of cardiac rehabilitation. Patients require support from their healthcare team, family, and friends to continue the lifestyle changes they implemented during the rehabilitation period.
The risks of another heart attack during cardiac rehabilitation are slight, and greatly reduced by careful, continuous monitoring of the physical status of the patient.
The outcome of the cardiac rehabilitation program depends on a number of variables, including patient follow-through, type and degree of heart disease, and the availability of an adequate support network for the patient. Patients who successfully complete the program will ideally reach an age-appropriate level of physical activity and be able to return to the workforce and/or other daily activities.