Cardiac Rehab How it Can Help Those With Heart Conditions

Woman on treadmill working with cardiac rehab therapist | Doylestown Health

Did you know that cardiac rehabilitation can improve quality of life, prevent a recurrent heart attack as well as future psychological disorders in people who’ve survived a heart attack?

It’s true, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cardiac rehab doesn’t just help heart attack survivors but also those who have various forms of heart disease such as:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve repair
  • Heart transplant or lung transplant
  • Angina
  • Heart failure

In celebration of American Heart Month and Cardiac Rehabilitation Week (February 14-20), we want you to be informed of the benefits of cardiac rehab, which is a medically supervised program designed to improve cardiovascular health.

The goal of cardiac rehab is to help patients return to an active life and reduce the risk of future cardiac problems.

Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation’s benefits can be both short and long term and typically include:

  • Physical activity to strengthen the heart and body after a heart attack.
  • Relieving symptoms of heart problems like chest pain.
  • Education about healthy living, including how to eat healthily, take medicine as prescribed and quit smoking.
  • Counseling to find ways to relieve stress and improve mental health. People are more likely to feel depressed after a heart attack. Cardiac rehab can prevent or lessen depression.
  • Increased energy and strength to make daily activities, such as carrying groceries and climbing stairs, easier.
  • Preventing future illness and death from heart disease. Studies have found that cardiac rehabilitation decreases the chance that a patient will die in the five years following a heart attack or bypass surgery by about 35 percent, notes information from the CDC.

Cardiac Rehab at Doylestown Health

At Doylestown Health, patients in cardiac rehab work with cardiologists, exercise physiologists and nurses. Dietitians are also involved in cardiac rehab and educate patients on six different topics, including:

  • Flavor Without Salt: Nutrition for Better Blood Pressure
  • Heart Healthy Power of a Plant-based Diet
  • Inflammation & Dietary Fats
  • Lowering Cholesterol Naturally
  • Sugar: Not So Sweet for Your Heart
  • Weight Loss 101

What Can Cardiac Rehab Patients Expect?

Most patients are in cardiac rehab for up to 12 weeks after discharge.

“We’ve had patients with coronary artery disease (the coronary artery plaquing process) who have reversed their amount of stenosis (narrowing of arteries). They’ve gone from a narrowing of 60 percent to as low as a 30 percent of stenosis,” explains David Martens, MS, CEP, clinical manager of cardiac rehab at Doylestown Health. “It requires a lot of work with their diet, taking medicines, attending cardiology appointments, time in rehab and reducing risk factors. But when they do all of that, good things happen.”

Part of what happens in cardiac rehab is measuring patients’ fitness levels and improving them. Dave explains that the higher levels of fitness attained through rehab, the lower their risk for another heart attack and the lower their risk of death.

Overall, cardiac rehab keeps patients in optimal physical shape — encouraging overall wellness — to keep them from getting sicker.

“We tell our patients that you don’t want to become a revolving door cardiac patient — and keep coming back to the hospital for treatment,” Dave says. “Instead, we tell them, ‘Cardiac rehab is going to help you avoid the hospital and get the most enjoyment out of your life.’”

Questions and Scheduling

To schedule an appointment or ask questions about cardiac rehab at Doylestown Health, please call 215.345.2390.

About Doylestown Health's Heart & Vascular Services

Expert cardiologists and cardiac surgeons assist patients and physicians with managing risk factors for heart disease, offer advanced treatment options and provide outstanding emergency cardiac care. Doylestown Hospital’s accredited Chest Pain Center is fully prepared to treat cardiac emergencies around the clock, focusing on rapid diagnosis and effective treatment. The multidisciplinary team at the Woodall Center for Heart and Vascular Care is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care and patient safety.

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