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Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

ACMC's Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center focuses on two rehabilitation methods - cardiac rehabiliation and pulmonary rehabilitation. Each rehabilitation method has different treatment options, but the similar goal of helping patients recover their health and adjust their lifestyle to chronic health risks.

Cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation is an interdisciplinary approach to strengthening the heart and preventing further cardiac problems. Patients who have completed the ACMC Cardiac Rehabilitation Program frequently report increased self-confidence, an improved sense of well-being, reduced fatigue, better sleep, and feelings of increased energy.

Through medication, surgery and other procedures, your doctor can give you a new lease on life. However, the condition responsible for most cariac problems - atherosclerotic heart disease - still exists. Cardiac rehabilitation helps modify the risk factors that contribute to heart disease and seeks to prevent recurring problems.

Lifelong exercise plays an important role in cardiac rehabilitation. Exercise has been shown to:

  • Decrease anginal episodes
  • Decrease the number of abnormal heart beats
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Decrease the incidence and severity of recurrent heart attacks
  • Reduce the amount of medication needed
  • Significantly increase your ability to work and play

Education is another tool of cardiac rehabilitation. ACMC's cardiac rehabilitation staff will teach you about your specific heart condition and medications, as well as risk factors and heart-healthy nutrition.

How does it work?

Cardiac rehabilitation is a four-phase program.

Phase I - A patient education program that starts during hopitalization and early on in the recovery program.

Phase II - An outpatient exercise program that is directed by a physician and monitored through the use of a cardiac monitor. Most people with a cardiac condition can be referred to Phase II by his or her attending physician. Using the results of an exercise tolerance evaluation, an individual exercise prescription is calculated for Phase II patients. Patinets are then seen at ACMC's Cardiac Rehabilitation Center three times each week for approximately one hour of exercise training. As part of the training, patients learn to monitor their own physiological responses (such as taking their pulse) during exercise. This phase also includes a structured coronary artery disease education program for patients and their families. Additionally, each patient meets with a registered dietitian for nutrition education and support as part of Phase II.

At the end of the program, patients are discharged to the Phase III or personal home exercise program.

Phase III - After completion of Phase II, patients may choose to continue to exercise at ACMC's Cardiac Rehabilitation Center and enjoy the friendly support of other patients and staff by participatient in this non-monitored wellness program. Phase III exercise classes are conducted two days a week with additional sessions done at home on your own.

Pulmonary rehabilitation

ACMC's pulmonary Rehabilitation uses an outpatient exercise program designed to help people manage their chronic lung disease. It offers an opportunity to improve overall health, prevent complications from lung diseas and enhance quality of life.

By using medication, you can alleviate some of the symptoms of your lung disease, but the primary cause of shortness of breath still exists. The goal of the pulmonary rehabilitation program is to reduce shortness of breath and anxiety by helping you recognize the things that contribute to their cause.

Who Benefits from Rehabilitation?

Anyone with lung disease that causes shortness of breath is a candidate for pulmonary rehabilitation. This includes people with moderate to severe forms of:

  • COPD.
  • Emphysema.
  • Chronic bronchitis.
  • Black lung.
  • Asbestosis.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Chronic asthma.
  • Bronchiectasis.
  • Lung cancer.

Rehabilitation is also available for pre- and post-lung surgery patients.

Patients who complete the rehabilitation program report reduced fatigue, better sleep, less shortness of breath and increased energy.

Getting Started

First, you'll need an order from your family doctor or lung specialist. You also will need to complete a lung function test, an electrocardiogram and an arterial blood gas test, unless you have had these tests done within the past six months. ACMC can provide these tests if needed.

You will meet with the center's medical director, a board-certified pulmonologist, who, with the staff of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center, will write an exercise prescription individualized to your needs. You will then be placed on a monitored exercise schedule.

How Does the Program Work?

Programs vary from patient to patient. You will receive a custom exercise program designed according to your level of physical fitness and the extent of your lung disease. For 10 weeks, you will be seen at the Medical Center three times a week for one-hour exercise sessions. During this time, you will meet with registered nurses, registered respiratory therapists, dietitians and other healthcare professionals who will teach you how to breathe, how to remove secretions from your lungs, how and when to take your medications, and what type of diet to follow.

Your heart rate and oxygen saturation will be monitored by ACMC rehabilitation staff during each session, and you will be taught how to monitor your own response to exercise. When you are discharged from the program, a home exercise plan will be given to you. Patients who wish to continue exercising at ACMC are encouraged to participate in the non-monitored wellness program. This program is conducted twice a week with additional sessions to be done at home.