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Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation is an interdisciplinary approach to strengthening the heart and preventing further cardiac problems. Through medication, surgery and other procedures, your doctor can give you a new lease on life. However, the condition responsible for most cardiac problems—atherosclerotic heart disease—still exists. Cardiac rehabilitation helps modify the risk factors that contribute to heart disease and seeks to prevent recurring 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.

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.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Cardiac rehabilitation is a four-phase program.

Phase I

A patient education program that starts during hospitalization 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. Patients 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 participating 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.

After completion of Phase III, patients are encouraged to move on to Phase IV.