Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is a therapeutic program of physical exercises especially made for improving health and strengthening the heart after a heart attack or surgery. In fact, recent scientific studies show that participation in a cardiac rehabilitation program (CR) can add another five years to life expectancy. Besides the sessions of physical exercise (ideally 36 sessions), cardiac rehabilitation also includes instructions on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and counseling for stress. Cardiac rehabilitation is commonly administered to prevent a new cardiovascular event after the following:
- Recovering from a heart attack
- After a surgical cardiac procedure such as artery stenting or valve surgery
- Recovering from a heart transplant or a heart and lung transplant
- In a state of stable congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Newly diagnosed with angina
- After a coronary bypass
Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR)
- CR Prolongs life and lowers chance for another heart attack
- Controls chest pain and shortness of breath
- CR can stop or reverse damage to blood vessels.
- CR shortens time spent in hospital
- Reduces death from any cause
- Lowers the chance for being readmitted to the hospital
- Improves mood and quality of life
Not all People with CHF Qualify for Cardiac Rehabilitation
Not all people with congestive heart failure (CHF) qualify for CR. People with CHF who have the following medical conditions are prohibited from participating in cardiac rehabilitation:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Risk for blood clots
- Stiffness of the aorta
- Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (abnormally thick heart muscle)
- Any other condition where physical exercise is dangerous
Low Enrollment in Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs
In spite of all the benefits of CR and that most insurance plans contribute to the cost, there is low enrollment (about 19-34%) in CR programs, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that only one in three of post heart attack patients enroll in a CR program.
Million Hearts Campaign to Raise Awareness of Benefits of CR
The Million Hearts campaign has set a goal to get enrollment in CR programs up to 70% participation for those who need it the most. To this end they have gathered tools, fact sheets and videos from other organizations such as the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), the American College of Cardiology, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and other organizations that can be used by health care providers and doctors to encourage people who can benefit from CR to enroll in a cardiac rehabilitation program.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition where the heart muscles can no longer function properly and this can lead to disability and a poor quality of life. You can read more about congestive heart failure (CHF) in our blog post from February 14, 2019.
Cardiac Rehabilitation at Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
The Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey has an excellent cardiac rehabilitation program and a state-of-the-art gym.
If you or your loved one have suffered from heart disease and attacks or have congestive heart failure (CHF), you should take advantage of cardiac rehabilitation to help prevent having more attacks and to prolong your life.