Cardiac Rehabilitation


The goal of cardiac rehabilitation is to restore and improve function, limit disability, minimize risk factors, and optimize cardiac conditioning. Through exercise and education specific to patients with heart disease.


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Hence cardiac rehabilitation is underutilized in the Pakistan. With an estimated participation of only 10-20% of eligible patients.

Risk Factors:

Risk factors for developing cardiac disease include increased age, male gender, history of vascular disease, and family history. As well as reversible factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity, smoking, stress, and diet.

History and Symptoms:

Often patients with cardiac disease have other problems. Including impaired lung function, limiting their mobility and exercise ability. Depending on the specific heart condition. The patient may present with difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, swelling, night waking, fatigue, fainting, chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, or pain in the legs during exercise due to circulation problems.

Physical Exam:

Physical examination includes determination of heart rate, swelling, and heart sounds as well as assessment of breathing.

Diagnostic Process:

Physicians will use tests for cholesterol levels, diabetes, and kidney disease. Likewise, electrocardiogram helps to identify structure/blockages and rhythm problems of the heart. Chest x-rays may be useful, and echo-cardiogram (ECG) can be performed. Cardiac stress testing is also used to evaluate tolerance to exercise.

Rehab Management:

Cardiac rehabilitation refers to a structured program of exercise. And education designed to help you return to optimal fitness and function following an event like a heart attack

Furthermore, there are four phases of cardiac rehabilitation. The first phase occurs in the hospital after your cardiac event. And the other three phases occur in a cardiac rehab center or at home

Phase One Cardiac Rehab: The Acute Phase

The initial goals of phase one cardiac rehabilitation include:

  • Assess your mobility and the effects that basic functional mobility to ensure that appropriate discharge planning occurs
  • Prescribe safe exercises to help you improve your mobility, and to improve cardiac fitness
  • Help you maintain your sternal precautions is you have had open heart surgery
  • Address any risk factors that may lead to cardiac events
  • Prescribe an appropriate assistive device, like a cane or a walker, to ensure that you are able to move around safely

Phase Two Cardiac Rehab: The Subacute Phase

Phase two of cardiac rehabilitation usually lasts from three to six weeks. And involves continued monitoring of your cardiac responses to exercise and activity.

Another important aspect of phase two cardiac rehabilitation is education about proper exercise procedures. And about how to self-monitor heart rate and exertion levels during exercise. This phase centers around your safe return to functional mobility while monitoring your heart rate.

So, towards the end of phase two, you should be ready to begin more independent exercise and activity.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Phase Three: Intensive Outpatient Therapy

Finally phase three of cardiac rehabilitation involves more independent and group exercise. You should be able to monitor your own heart rate, your symptomatic response to exercise, and your rating of perceived exertion (RPE).  Your physical therapist will be present during this phase to help you increase your exercise tolerance


  • Strengthen and condition your heart and lungs
  • Control your weight and lower your total cholesterol levels through good nutrition and physical activity understand your medications

4 thoughts on “Cardiac Rehabilitation

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