What is Cardiac Rehabilitation or Rehab?
Cardiac rehabilitation is a multi-dimensional program designed for those who suffer from coronary artery disease (CAD) or heart disease. The program reduces the future risk of these patients from CAD or heart disease through medical evaluation, prescribed exercise, cardiac risk factor modification, education and counseling. The exercises that are involved are aerobic exercises like cardiovascular exercises, lifting weights or bodybuilding using different exercise equipment usually in a specified gym, yoga, and pranayama.
Goals of the program
- Decrease future risk of disease or heart attacks
- Instill confidence to resume work and normal activities of daily living
- Begin an exercise program that is safe and effective
- Improve dietary habits and lifestyle
- Speed up the psychological aspects of recovery
Recovery from Bypass surgery / Angioplasty / Heart Attack
A heart attack or an intervention procedure such as bypass surgery or angioplasty is a consequence of heart disease. After the event, it is crucial to keep your risk factors to a minimum, to keep your arteries free of blockage, which is the main aim of the program. Usually patients are eligible to join the cardiac rehab program one to four weeks after discharge, depending on their medical condition.
Is the cardiac rehabilitation right for a heart patient?
The program is recommended for individuals who have experienced any one or more of the following conditions:
- Heart attack
- Bypass surgery
- Angioplasty (stent)
- Heart valve surgery
- Heart transplant surgery
- Angiography showing blockage
How will this help a cardiac patient?
Studies have shown that cardiac rehabilitation significantly reduces the risk of future death and complications of heart disease by 20%. The focus of the program is not just on exercise, but to change a cardiac patient’s lifestyle and risk factors to achieve a long and healthy life, free of heart disease.
Phases of cardiac rehabilitation
Phase I: In the hospital
This begins in the hospital following a heart attack, heart surgery, angioplasty or angiography showing blockages. Low level activity begins in the hospital itself and is gradually increased during the stay in the hospital. Education on cardiac risk factors is initiated and the patient is advised appropriate lifestyle modification.
Phase II: Out-Patient
The patient attends the program a prescribed number of times a week at the rehabilitation center. During each session the patient does different types of aerobic exercises like cardio vascular exercises, lifting weights, with some doctors prescribing even yoga and pranayama. The patients do these exercises using state-of-art portable heart monitoring equipment known as telemetry. This ensures optimal amount of exercise in the safest manner possible. An individualized program of lifestyle modification including in-depth nutrition counseling is planned and also a weight loss program is suggested if a patient is overweight or obese. The duration of the program could be prescribed by a doctor as per the patient’s condition and could be one month to six months or more.
This begins on the completion of phase II, once the patient is more independent. The focus continues on education, lifestyle modification and risk factor reduction.
Exercise is performed under supervision and telemetry is used if indicated.
Cardiac Rehabilitation Video: