Cardiac Rehabilitation Program


Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program designed to help cardiac patients restore their health – physically, psychologically and socially. Rehab focuses on heart-healthy eating, long-term strategies for weight loss, exercise, managing stress, improving moods and quitting smoking.

The program involves monitoring your heart rate and keeping track of symptoms. It’s also intended to address the emotional effects of heart disease and improve your confidence and well-being. Cardiac rehab has been shown to increase the life expectancy of cardiac patients by up to 5 years, and to reduce the number of hospitalizations. When you’re in a cardiac rehab program, we’ll regularly communicate with your doctor to make your entire treatment process more successful.

In a 5-year follow-up of cardiac rehab patients, it’s been found that we can:

  • Improve survival rates by more than 30%
  • Lower the risk of another heart attack by 25%
  • Reduce heart disease risk factors by 50%
  • Reduce depression, anger and anxiety

Restoring heart health

Cardiac Rehabilitation at Aurora
Patients in Aurora Health Care's cardiac rehabilitation program work with doctors, nurses and other health professionals to regain their former level of physical, psychological and social function.

Services & Treatment

Cardiac rehab is handled by a team of health professionals led by a medical director, and includes nurses, exercise physiologists and dietitians. You can also get consultations with a health psychologist if you’re depressed or anxious. Cardiac rehabilitation usually happens in 3 phases:

Phase 1 - Inpatient cardiac rehabilitation. This is when you’re in the hospital immediately after cardiac surgery or another treatment. You’ll begin mild exercise to improve your strength before you go home. You’ll also receive education and counseling about risk factors.

Phase 2 - Outpatient cardiac rehabilitation. This usually starts 1 to 4 weeks after you return home. You’ll need a referral from your doctor to participate. The program includes supervised exercise at a hospital or clinic. As you exercise, we monitor your heart rate, heart rhythm and blood pressure. You’ll use different pieces of exercise equipment, such as a treadmill, stationary bike and elliptical machine. You’ll also receive group and individual counseling aimed at modifying your risk factors. You’ll learn more about physical activity and nutrition, how to quit smoking, how to manage your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, and more. Depending on your diagnosis, insurance (including Medicare) usually covers this portion of rehab.

Phase 3 - Maintenance. After you’ve completed your Phase 2 program, you might want to stay in a supervised program in a hospital or clinic because it can help you cement the good habits you’ve learned and continue to improve.

Once you’ve completed a cardiac rehab program, you’re encouraged to continue a lifelong habit of exercise and healthy eating.

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