Cardiac rehabilitation or cardiac rehab as it may also be called is an individualised program for patients who may have experienced a significant cardiac event, such as a heart attack. This program will be designed with your individual health needs in mind as the goal is to improve and strengthen heart health. These programs will include lifestyle modifications that can impact recovery after a heart attack. A typical rehab team will consist of a doctor, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist and may include a psychologist to ensure mental health needs are addressed if required.
Cardiac rehab programs have been used for many years and are now widely accessible in many communities. With the recent impact of COVID-19, many programs are available in either face to face programs attending as an outpatient or using telehealth to access the multidisciplinary team.
What is involved in the rehab program?
The British Medical Journal states that the goal of the Cardiac Rehab programs is “comprehensive, long term programs involving medical evaluation, prescribed exercise, cardiac risk factor modification, education and counselling.”
Is Cardiac rehab for me?
Cardiac rehab is available for most patients after a cardiac event or other cardiac conditions such as:
- Heart attack or myocardial infarction
- Heart Failure or cardiomyopathy
- After heart transplant or those with ventricular assist devices
- Patients with Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD) or Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy (CRT) Device
- Patients with heart valve repair or replacement
- Cardiac Bypass Surgery
You may receive information regarding the program whilst still in hospital and may commence shortly after being discharged home. The hospital staff sharing this information are an excellent resource to ask your questions regarding what your specific program may look like. Your local medical team will decide if this program is suitable for you to attend, but if you are not sure, ask your local GP for advice.
Most programs are 4-8 weeks in length and being mindful that they are individualised, you may attend for longer periods depending on your circumstances. Some programs are many months in length and aim to work alongside you to meet your long term heart health goals.
What happens after the program finishes?
Like many chronic conditions, conditions related to heart diseases are often lifelong lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, cessation of smoking etc. A healthy diet and regular exercise are excellent bases for minimising ongoing risks related to a variety of heart conditions.
Written by Shane Bassett Clinical Content Director CTD, RN/BN/CCRN
Image Credit: Parkview Healthcare
To find a cardiac rehabilitation program near you, visit www.hopeforhearts.com.au