How Cardiac Rehab Helps Heal Your Heart

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Cardiac rehabilitation or cardiac rehab is an individualized, supervised exercise program for outpatients who have undergone either some type of heart surgery, like a heart bypass operation or a valve operation, or even a heart transplant operation. The program is designed to help those patients improve their heart function, recover from their procedures, and develop a stronger heart thereafter.

Cardiac rehab can be started as early as one to two weeks after a stent procedure, for example. Or potentially four to six weeks after a heart surgery. The specific time frame would depend on your individual situation and your recovery from the procedures. And would be a decision made with your physician. Initially, when you arrive at the cardiac rehabilitation center, you should expect an orientation.

There will be a didactic session initially to give you an overview of what to expect over the subsequent 12 weeks. For every session, you will be connected to a Holter monitor or an ECG monitor to monitor your heart rate and rhythm during the sessions. In addition to the exercise therapies that you will undergo, you would expect to hear about didactic sessions on the optimal blood pressure control.

What is the best diet for somebody with your condition? What medications are you taking now? And an explanation of what those medications mean, what they are useful for, and why you're taking them. If you're a smoker, what can be done to help you to stop smoking. All of these things will be discussed further with you in a formal didactic sessions during the rehab program. Cardiac rehab sessions are group sessions.

And so that in of itself is one of the benefits of the program. In that, you get to meet and interact with other patients who have been through a similar procedure or a similar surgery as you have. But even though it's a group session and a group setting, each patient gets an individualized, personalized program for his or her specific needs. There is very, very strong clinical evidence that we have from a number of trials that have been conducted over the years that has shown very significant benefit to patients both in improving their heart health and improving their symptoms, and allowing them to live longer.