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Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation, also called cardiac rehab, is a customized outpatient program of exercise and education.

The program is designed to help you improve your health and recover from a heart attack, other forms of heart disease or surgery to treat heart disease. Cardiac rehabilitation often involves exercise training, emotional support and education about lifestyle changes to reduce your heart disease risk, such as eating a heart-healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking.

The goals of cardiac rehabilitation include establishing a plan to help you regain strength, prevent your condition from worsening, reduce your risk of future heart problems, and improve your health and quality of life.

Research has found that cardiac rehabilitation programs can reduce your risk of death from heart disease and reduce your risk of future heart problems. The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend cardiac rehabilitation programs.

Consult Dr. Sarojini for Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

Why it's done

Cardiac rehabilitation is an option for people with many forms of heart disease. In particular, you might benefit from cardiac rehabilitation if your medical history includes:

  • Heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Certain congenital heart diseases
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Angioplasty and stents
  • Heart or lung transplant
  • Heart valve repair or replacement
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic


Cardiac rehabilitation isn't appropriate for everyone who has had heart disease. Your health care team will evaluate your health, including reviewing your medical history, conducting a physical exam and performing tests, to make sure you're ready to start a cardiac rehabilitation program.

Rarely, some people suffer injuries, such as strained muscles or sprains, while exercising as a part of cardiac rehabilitation. Your health care team will carefully monitor you while you exercise to lower this risk and will teach you how to avoid injuries when you exercise on your own. There is also a small risk of cardiovascular complications.

How you prepare

If you've had a heart attack, heart surgery or another heart condition, ask your doctor about joining a cardiac rehabilitation program. Insurance and Medicare often cover the costs of cardiac rehabilitation in the United States. Check with your insurance company to see if your cardiac rehabilitation will be covered.

Your treatment team will work with you to set goals for your cardiac rehabilitation program and design a program that meets your needs. In some cases, a case manager will track your care.

Cardiac rehabilitation can begin while you're still in the hospital or, more likely, as an outpatient. For some people, a home-based program might work, especially at certain times, such as a pandemic.

What you can expect

During cardiac rehabilitation

The first stages of most cardiac rehabilitation programs generally last about three months, but some people will follow the program longer. In special situations, some people might be able to do an intensive program for several hours a day that can last one or two weeks.

During cardiac rehabilitation, you'll likely work with a team of health care professionals, possibly including cardiologists, nurse educators, nutrition specialists, exercise specialists, mental health specialists, and physical and occupational therapists.

Cardiac rehabilitation includes:

Medical evaluation. Your health care team will generally perform an initial evaluation to check your physical abilities, medical limitations and other conditions you may have. Ongoing evaluations can help your team keep track of your progress over time.

During your evaluation, your health care team might look at your risk factors for heart complications, particularly during exercise. This can help your team tailor a cardiac rehabilitation program to your needs, making sure it's safe and effective for you.

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