Cardiac Rehab

Your Care Explained > Recovery : Cardiac Rehab

Many studies have analyzed the results of cardiac rehab programs and one thing is certain: women who attend cardiac rehab programs have the best chance of correctly minimizing their risks, changing their lifestyle for the better and living longer.

Unfortunately, women are less likely than men to attend cardiac rehab programs, in part because they are less likely to be referred to these programs. Sometimes, even when they are referred to cardiac programs, women are less likely than men to attend or complete their programs. If you qualify for cardiac rehab, consider attending.

Cardiac rehabilitation, or cardiac rehab, is a program that is recommended for patients who have had a heart attack, angioplasty, stents, bypass or valve surery, and heart or heart/lung transplants. Sometimes it is also recommended for patients with congestive heart failure whose condition is controlled with medications. In these cases, your eligibility is regulated by your insurance provider based on your condition. The cardiac rehab program is designed to help you adjust and recover after you’ve been diagnosed and treated with these problems or have had these procedures, and will usually take place at a hospital or designated cardiac rehab treatment facility. Depending on the treatment you’ve had and your insurance policy, the duration of rehab can be anywhere from six weeks to six months. On average, however, the programs usually last about three months.

About Cardiac Rehab

Cardiac rehab will help you make the necessary lifestyle changes to recover and to minimize the risk of a recurrence. A team of nurses, doctors, dietitians, physical therapists and social workers will help you learn how to improve your health and feel better by decreasing your risk factors. Some of these controllable risk factors include:

Risk factors that cannot be controlled include age and family history.

During Cardiac Rehab

Most cardiac rehab programs will address the controllable heart disease risk factors as well as help you become healthy after a cardiac event or surgery.

After Cardiac Rehab

The ultimate goal of cardiac rehab is to prepare you to live with heart disease. After you complete cardiac rehab, you will have the skills you need to resume your daily activities and enjoy an active, productive life. Women may do better in programs in which there are group sessions and where there is an ability to talk with other patients. You may want to discuss the format of cardiac rehab with the facility that you are considering.

Nutrition and Prevention

Reference these links for information on how to prevent heart disease and how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Date Last Modified: January 21, 2011

Send Feedback To: BWH Women’s Health at bwhteleservices@partners.org

75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115 617.732.5500
harvard medical school partners healthcare © BWH 2011