Centers of Excellence

Heart Lung Vascular Institute

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Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation programs are designed to help people with cardiac and vascular (lung) problems recover faster and improve their quality of life.

Both programs include exercise, education, counseling and support for patients and their families. The cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation team consists of the participant, the family, physician, nurse, dietitian, respiratory therapist, psychologist, pharmacist, exercise specialist and chaplain. Using the team approach, participants can enhance the quality of their lives and achieve the independence of self-care through education, risk-factor modification and regular exercise. With the team approach, participants’ needs for counseling and education are individualized.

The most important member of your rehabilitation team is you. Participants are encouraged to assume the major responsibility for their health. None of the professionals can make you exercise, stop smoking or eat a healthier diet. You play an important role in making your rehabilitation a success. To be an active team member, you need to do the following.

  • Learn about your condition.
  • Learn what you can do to help your health.
  • Follow the treatment plan.
  • Ask questions.
  • Report any symptoms or problems.

The success of your lifestyle changes can be enhanced by having your spouse of support person involved in the educational portion of the rehabilitation program.

Cardiovascular Rehabilitation

Almost anyone with heart trouble can benefit from cardiovascular rehabilitation. Some common heart problems include heart attack, angina, heart failure, angioplasty, stent and coronary bypass surgery. Cardiovascular rehabilitation is a safe and effective way to help you feel better faster, become stronger, reduce stress, reduce your risk of future heart problems and live longer. No one is too young or too old. Women and men benefit equally from cardiovascular rehabilitation.

How Does Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Work?

Cardiovascular rehabilitation has two major components: exercise training and education/counseling. Exercise training strengthens muscles, improves stamina and teaches the participant how to exercise safely. Education/counseling provides information about heart conditions and ways to reduce the risk of future heart problems. Cardiovascular rehabilitation usually occurs in groups, but each participant’s plan is based on the individual’s specific risk factors and special needs.

Phases of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation

  • Phase I—Cardiovascular rehabilitation begins in the hospital with phase I, which includes education. This session is for persons who have undergone heart surgery or have had a heart attack and include guidelines for continued home exercise.

  • Phase II occurs in the outpatient setting, usually soon after discharge from the hospital. This intensive outpatient phase includes closely supervised, telemetry-monitored small group exercise sessions; education and counseling on risk factors; and individualized exercise programs. Phase II is offered three days per week, up to 12 weeks and includes regular reports to the referring physician.

  • Phase III is a supervised but non-monitored exercise program in the fitness facility. This is a more independent rehabilitation, beginning after the completion of Phase II. The focus of this program is aerobic exercise, but it can include strength training if appropriate for the participant.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Almost anyone with lung problems can benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation. Some common lung problems include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic obstructive bronchitis (COB) or emphysema. Pulmonary rehabilitation is a safe and effective way to help the participant feel better faster, become stronger, reduce stress and improve the overall quality of life.

How Does Pulmonary Rehabilitation Work?

Pulmonary rehabilitation has two major components: exercise training and education/counseling. Exercise training strengthens muscles, improves stamina and teaches the participant how to exercise safely with less breathing effort. Education/counseling provides information about lung conditions and ways to reduce the risk of future lung problems. The rehabilitation team teaches the participant how to cope with lung problems and how to deal with fears about the future. Pulmonary rehab usually occurs in small groups, but each participant’s plan is based on the individual’s specific needs.

Phases of Pulmonary Rehab

  • Phase II—Pulmonary rehabilitation occurs in the outpatient setting and is referred to as Phase II. This phase includes intensive closely supervised, telemetry-monitored small group exercise sessions; education, including breathing retraining; oxygen saturation monitoring; and individualized exercise programs. Phase II is offered two days per week and includes regular reports to the referring physician.

  • Phase III is a maintenance exercise program in the fitness facility that is supervised by the rehabilitation staff. This is a non-monitored, more independent rehabilitation, beginning after the completion of Phase II. The focus of this program is aerobic exercise, but it can include strength training if appropriate for the participant. Oxygen saturation monitoring is available.

Is Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Safe for Me?

Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation are safe. The multidisciplinary rehabilitation team is trained to handle emergencies, and a physician is available at all times for emergency cases.

How Do I Get Involved?

Your doctor must order Phase I and Phase II cardiovascular or pulmonary rehabilitation. If you are interested in attending, discuss it with your doctor or nurse. For more information, call 865.305.6920.