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What to expect from cardiac rehab

Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital January 24, 2014 Wellness Articles

Most people survive their first heart attack and are able to return to enjoying the same activities they always have. But a heart attack is a wake-up call, too. Patients who have suffered from a heart attack or other serious cardiac event usually require changes to the behaviors or lifestyle that they’ve become accustomed to.

In addition to changes in behavior like quitting smoking or eating a healthier diet, one key part of recovering from a heart attack is participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program.

“An inpatient cardiac rehabilitation program serves as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for patients who are recovering from a cardiac event,” says Kim Cooper, manager of the Cardiac Care Program at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital. “It empowers them to take an active role in taking control of their health and getting their life back.”

There are two different types of cardiac rehab programs available: inpatient and outpatient. Outpatient Cardiac Rehab programs use a team of professionals to include exercise, counseling and education to reduce modifiable risk factors. Topics typically focus on nutrition, diabetes, stress management, weight loss, and smoking cessation.

“Cardiac rehab aims to provide a team approach to helping patients recover. It’s not about improving your health in one specific area—it’s about teaching new behaviors and improving your overall health,” explains Cooper.

Cardiac rehab programs aren’t just good for helping you recover from a heart attack; they’re beneficial in preventing future ones, too. Patients who participate in a cardiac rehab program and make lasting lifestyle changes can improve their long-term health and prevent future cardiac episodes, and other health issues, too, like diabetes.

Outpatient Cardiac rehab typically involves exercising three days per week for approximately 60 minutes. A program may last up to 12 weeks or more and includes education and support.

All four Main Line Health acute care hospitals have Outpatient Cardiac Rehab programs and are American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) certified. The Cardiac Care Program at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital is currently offered exclusively to inpatients. To learn more about all of our cardiology services, including outpatient cardiac rehab, visit our website.