The Benefits of Cardiac Rehab

Cardiac rehab is a major component in the lives of individuals who have experienced a cardiac event such as a heart attack, bypass surgery, or heart transplant. Through personalized sessions, individuals are taught how to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle and are given tools to keep it going for the long-term.

Patients with qualifying diagnoses enter the program through physician referrals. The cardiac rehab team at Hillcrest Medical Center, which consists of nurses, exercise physiologists, and a dietitian, uses a team approach, to help the patient improve their cardiac and overall health.

What takes place in an average cardiac rehab session?

Patients arrive to their session, weigh in, attach their heart monitor, and take a seat to rest for a few minutes before having their heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood pressure measured. A cardiac rehab team member develops an exercise plan that is individualized to each patient’s needs. Exercise usually begins on the treadmill, step machine or bike, each lasting for 10 minutes at a moderate intensity. If there are no upper body restrictions, patients will also spend roughly four minutes on the arm ergometer. Blood pressure is also measured during the exercise portion of the session. When finished, patients rest for a recovery period and have their blood pressure checked again. Patients will also meet individually with the registered dietitian to work on dietary goals. Patients also attend four group classes where topic like risk factors, medications, nutrition, stress and exercise are discussed.

What are the benefits of cardiac rehab?

In cardiac rehab, patients will learn a maintainable exercise program. It is a safe environment for them to begin exercise where trained professionals are monitoring their blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rhythm. Patients learn a lot about their heart and can ask questions. If anything concerning is noticed during a session, the cardiac rehab team notifies the cardiologist or sends the patient to the emergency room if needed. Patients leave feeling educated about making heart-healthy choices and are aware of what puts them at greater risk.

What is the goal of cardiac rehab?

Through cardiac rehab, the goal is to help patients develop healthy eating habits, learn how to lower and properly control stress and develop an exercise program that they will be able to maintain.

How can patients continue to improve their heart health after completing the cardiac rehab program?

We encourage patients to join a fitness center for lifelong exercise and continue to use the heart-healthy knowledge they gained during cardiac rehab. Cardiac Rehab graduates that join the HMC Fitness Center will not have a registration fee, and depending on the insurance carrier, may also qualify for coverage of the monthly membership fee.

For more information regarding cardiac rehabilitation at Hillcrest Medical Center, please call 918-579-4959.