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Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

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ACMC's Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center 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.