What is Cardiac rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehabilitation is a specialised outpatient exercise and education programme designed to improve cardiovascular health and prepare you for future daily activities.
Who benefits from cardiac rehabilitation?
If you have certain heart diseases, cardiac rehabilitation may be beneficial to you. These include those who have:
- Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Chest pain (angina)
- Heart failure
- Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery
- Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
- Pulmonary hypertension
What can you expect from a cardiac rehabilitation programme?
You will most likely work with a team of healthcare professionals throughout cardiac rehabilitation, which may include cardiologists, nutritionists, mental health specialists, and physical and occupational therapists. Your programme could span from 6 weeks to more than a year.
Cardiac rehabilitation aims to help rebuild strength, prevent your condition from worsening, lower the risk of future heart issues, and enhance your health and quality of life.
Your cardiac rehabilitation programme may include the following:
- Medical evaluation - Your healthcare team will assess your physical ability, medical limits, and other issues. Then, they may evaluate your cardiac risk factors, especially during physical activities, which helps the team create a safe and effective cardiac rehabilitation programme for you.
- Physical activity - Your doctor may recommend muscle-strengthening workouts, low-impact exercises and suitable warm-up and cool-down routines to improve cardiovascular fitness.
- Vocational or occupational therapy - The goal is to equip you with skills that will facilitate your transition back into the workforce or daily life.
- Lifestyle education - Encouragement and advice are given to make healthy lifestyle changes. This includes regular workouts, maintaining a healthy weight, and giving up smoking.
- Counselling & support - Handling a serious health issue can be long and arduous. You will be given counselling and support to handle your feelings and other difficult emotions. Depending on your case, your doctor may suggest medication.
Impact of cardiac rehabilitation
Cardiac rehabilitation helps you physically and emotionally recover. As you get stronger and learn to manage your condition, you'll likely return to a routine with your new diet and exercise habits.
One of the many peer-reviewed journal publications exploring the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation is the Impact of Cardiac Rehabilitation on Mortality and Cardiovascular Events After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention in the Community.
The journal talks about the association between cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and lowered mortality after a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) was examined using three different statistical methods: propensity score (PS) stratification analysis, PS matched analysis and regression adjustment with PS in a 3-month landmark analysis.
Those who took part in CR following PCI showed a 45% to 47% decrease in all-cause mortality compared to those who did not participate in CR. The link between CR and reduced mortality rates was the same for patients of all sexes, ages and those undergoing elective or nonelective PCI.
It was also discussed in greater detail how the increased physical activity and exercise ability brought on by CR leads to crucial physiological adaptations that boost cardiovascular health.
Patients who underwent PCI and were prescribed antiplatelet therapy may benefit from CR participation because it has been shown to increase medication adherence. In addition, members of the CR programme closely follow up with patients by interacting with them several times a month, which helps to discover new symptoms, side effects, and comorbid diseases that may require additional assessments or adjustments to treatment.
At Rehabcentric based in Ara Damansara Medical Centre (ADMC), our team of healthcare professionals helps design individualised treatment plans that aim to restore and maximise each patient's health and physical mobility.