A cardiac rehab program can include features, such as patient education, lifestyle changes, management of hypertension and high cholesterol levels, emotional support and monitored exercise. Doctors can recommend a cardiac rehab program for patients who experience an event, such as a heart attack or different types of cardiac surgical procedures. The rehab program can have different phases, including inpatient and outpatient phases, as noted by WebMD.
Phase 1 of cardiac rehab program can begin in the hospital after the patient has either undergone some type of heart problem or surgical procedure. This phase can entail a patient taking an exercise test to establish a specific exercise program and educating the patient and his family on the need for dietary and lifestyle changes, states WebMD. During phase 1 of the program, a patient can learn about changes in diet that can lead to healthy eating and the need to stop smoking and lose weight. It can also include light exercises, such as walking and self-care.
Some programs can have three or four phases, states the California Society for Cardiac Rehabilitation. Phases 2 through 4 are outpatient programs in which the patient can start an established exercise routine and is monitored by staff. These phases can also include learning about stress management techniques and nutritional counseling. Doctors can also see patients during these phases to monitor or prescribe medications for underlying medical conditions, such as hypertension and high cholesterol level.
The main goals of a cardiac rehab program is reducing the risk factors and the likelihood of another cardiac event by providing emotional support and through educating patients on medications, exercising, healthy eating habits and stress reduction techniques.