Cardiac Rehabilitation – Rejuvenating Your Heart After Heart Surgery or Attack

Cardiac rehabilitation, also known as cardiac rehabilitation, is an organized medical program designed to help you improve your heart health and well-being after a heart attack or heart surgery to rejuvenate your heart.

Cardiac rehabilitation aims to set up a personalized plan to restore your strength, reduce your risk of heart problems, prevent your current condition from worsening, and improve your quality of life.

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology highly recommend cardiac rehabilitation as it increases your chance of survival after heart surgery/heart attack.

Cardiac rehabilitation is usually started during your hospital stay (especially after a heart attack or heart surgery) and continues with a supervised OPD-based program until you can safely carry out a home maintenance program.

The result of cardiac rehabilitation

The outcome of a cardiac rehabilitation program depends on the collective efforts of the cardiac rehabilitation team and the long-term commitment of the patient. The team includes a rehabilitation specialist, cardiologist, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians/nutritionists, psychologists and psychiatrists.

Cardiac rehabilitation helps:

Recover well after a heart attack or heart surgery
It reduces risk factors such as high blood pressure, blood cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, emotional changes and physical inactivity that lead to the development of coronary heart disease and other heart problems.
It improves your well-being and quality of life
Make healthy lifestyle adjustments that include healthy eating, physical activity, stress management, etc.
Prevent impending heart problems and related risks.

Phases of cardiac rehabilitation:

Cardiac rehabilitation is often divided into phases that include medical care and evaluation, supervised exercise, stress reduction counselling, lifestyle modification, and dietary counselling to help you return to your active and normal life. This can take 3-6 months. The stages are;

Medical care and assessment: The cardiac rehabilitation team will assess you for your physical and medical capabilities/limitations and check for any underlying conditions and risk factors that you may need to tailor to ensure their safety and effectiveness. The team will monitor your progress from time to time.

Physical activity and exercise: After surgery, you and your rehabilitation team can return to normal life through joint efforts to train you at a comfortable and safe pace to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Don’t worry if you haven’t exercised before. You will learn proper exercise techniques. This includes warming up, walking, cycling, stretching, rowing, and other activities that help build your endurance. Finally, you must undergo strength training to build muscle strength and fitness.

Initially, for 6-8 weeks after heart surgery, you will be advised to follow the instructions;

Gradually increase your activity level.
Housework can be done, but you should not stand in one place for more than 15 minutes.
Avoid pushing or pulling heavy objects
Avoid lifting heavy weights
Climbing stairs only if recommended
Daily walking as directed by the rehabilitation team.

Lifestyle and Diet Modifications: Your nutritionist/dietitian will give you dietary guidelines to help you lose weight. It will help you reduce fat, cholesterol and sodium in your diet with a heart-healthy diet. Lifestyle adjustments need to be made to eliminate unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, etc.

Counselling and support: Depression is often associated with surgery, which makes your rehabilitation more challenging and has a major impact on your life and health. Your mental health often takes time to adjust, and you may feel depressed, anxious, and uninterested in work and socializing for several weeks. Counselling and emotional support from your family and rehabilitation team will help you cope with stress and lead a happy life. You will be guided to overcome your stress and fear to help you resume your active lifestyle with more energy and motivation.


Even after you complete your cardiac rehabilitation program, you must persevere and continue the exercise and eating habits you learned during the program throughout your life to maintain a healthy heart.

Your new eating and exercise habits will allow you to return to your normal routine, as the success of your cardiac rehabilitation program will depend more on your commitment. The more loyal you are in following your rehab team’s recommendations, the better you will do.

By Magazine4Health

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