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Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac Rehabilitation is a way for people who have had a heart attack, angioplasty, bypass, valve replacement, transplant or other cardiac ailment to get going again.

If you have just come through major heart surgery, or survived an almost fatal heart attack, you feel lucky or even grateful.  Now is the time to take measures to avoid having another heart event.  It is a smart strategy to get your back on your feet - and create a long-lasting heart-healthy lifestyle.

A team of physicians, nurses, exercise physiologists and nutritionists helps you feel well again by leading you through a rehab program designed to fit your needs, while carefully monitoring your heart rhythm and rate.

Services of the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness program at the Heart & Vascular Center in West County include:

  • Pre- and post-op evaluation
  • Exercise prescriptions
  • ECG rhythm strips
  • Supervised full-service gym
  • Prevention of additional cardiac attacks or adverse events
  • Nutrition counseling and cooking advice
  • Patient and community education

    COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CARDIAC REHABILITATION

    How soon after my operation (or heart attack) should I begin rehabilitation ?

    Cardiac rehabilitation generally has four phases:

    Phase 1 begins early after a cardiac event, while you are still in the hospital. This phase usually includes light supervised exercise such as waling the halls and stair climbing. At that time, your cardiology hospital nurses and physical therapists will advise you about the risk factors for another event, instruct you about diet, medication, sexual activity, necessary exercise and how to lead a normal life at home.

  • The goals of phase 1 include:

    • Addressing your concerns following discharge from the hospital
    • Encouraging lifestyle changes
    • Prescribing outpatient cardiac rehabilitation

    Your doctor can prescribe outpatient cardiac rehabilitation at the Heart & Vascualr Center, which will begin after you are released from the hospital.

    What do I need to do after I leave the hospital?

    Phase II is the early outpatient phase of cardiac rehabilitation. This phase requires a referral from your cardiologist or physician. Entrance into the program is usually 2 to 6 weeks after discharge from the hospital.

    Using telemetry monitoring, we provide individualized exercise prescriptions during group exercise. The program meets for one hour three or more times per week for 12 weeks.

    Phase II aims to return you to normal active life and put you, not your heart condition, in charge of your life.

    The goals of Phase II are to

    • Improve your functional capacity and endurance
    • Reduce the risk of future heart conditions
    • Reduce anxiety
    • Improve your quality of life
    • Educate you about making the best social and psychological adjustments.

    This is accomplished by involving you in individual and group instruction about medicine, nutrition, stress management, and considering your heart safety in your daily life, such as sexual activity, work and recreation. Spouses or other family members are invited to participate if they wish.

    How do I continue ?

    Phase III is a continuation of the Phase II program. As a general rule, the Phase III program includes particpants who are 6-14 post hospital discharge.

    You may be referred by your physician directly into this program, without Phase II participation, depending on your individual situation.

    The goals of Phase III are to provide an ongoing exercise program and to offer whatever support is necessary to make lifestyle changes. We want you to achieve the desired objective, such as an independent lifestyle or to return to work. Most importantly, we want to help you avoid the progression of heart disease.

    During all exercises, your heart rhythm, rate and blood pressure are monitored before, during and after exercise.

    You are required to keep records of your exercie regimen which are scheduled three or more times a week.

    What about on-going exercise ?

    Phase IV is a wellness program for those who have completed any or all of the foregoing programs. It is a means to continue working on improving lifestyle changes.

    You exercise three or more times per week with minimal staff supervision.

    Where is it located ?

    The Heart & Vascular Center in west St Louis County, provides facilities and professional staff for Phases II and III. Various aerobic exercise equipment and a small walking track are available - all with heart monitoring and supervision.

    How do I get started ?

    Getting started for Phases II, III and IV requires a referral from your physician. He or she will decide if you are a candidate for the program.

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    Copyright 2014 Washington University School of Medicine