Cardiac Rehabilitation provides supervised exercise, education, and counseling to help you improve your cardiovascular health and achieve your highest levels of function after experiencing a cardiac event.
You can benefit from cardiac rehabilitation if either of these are true for you:
- Have experienced a heart attack, or have angina, congestive heart failure, or other forms of heart disease
- Are recovering from stent placement, coronary artery bypass surgery, heart valve replacement or other cardiac procedures
Our skilled team provides individualized information and coaching to assist you with:
- Promoting and improving cardiovascular fitness
- Identifying and modifying cardiovascular risk factors
- Engaging in consistent, life-long exercise routines
- Learning how to make choices for a healthier lifestyle
Why should I participate in cardiac rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehabilitation promotes wellness through lifestyle changes that are essential for prevention of future heart-related events. Benefits of participation in cardiac rehabilitation include:
- Stabilizing, slowing, and possibly reversing the progression of heart disease
- Improving strength and endurance
- Speeding up recovery processes
- Enabling faster return to work and recreational activities
- Helping with risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, promoting weight loss, decreasing blood pressure, improving blood sugar control, supporting smoking cessation, reducing stress, and managing depression
Phase 1: inpatient program
You might be referred to our program while you are still in the hospital. A member of our cardiac rehabilitation team will meet with you to discuss ways to lower your chance of having more heart problems in the future. You often take a short, supervised walk accompanied by a cardiac rehabilitation team member to see how you feel and how you respond to light exercise.
Your doctor may recommend that you begin an outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program after you have left the hospital. We will help you establish an appointment with our cardiac rehabilitation program or with a cardiac rehabilitation program close to your home when you are being discharged.
Phase 2: outpatient program
The outpatient program is a 6- to 12-week group exercise and education program that includes weight training with aerobic exercises such as treadmill walking, cycling, rowing, stair climbing, and arm exercises. In the education portion of the program, you will learn about heart-healthy diets, medications, stress reduction, and depression management. In the exercise portion of the program, we adjust exercise levels to meet your specific muscle, joint, and heart issues, and provide guidelines for safe and effective exercise, including recommendations for regular home exercise.
At the conclusion of the outpatient program, you will receive both an "exercise prescription" for continuing your exercise and a referral to a maintenance exercise program.
Phase 3: Maintenance Exercise Program
The Maintenance Exercise Program is a supervised group exercise class for 1.5 hours, two days a week. In this program you perform exercises independently of other participants while being monitored by our staff as needed. The maintenance program is a self-pay program with a low monthly fee.
Resources from our program
The Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock is peer-reviewed and accredited by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.