Published on November 22, 2020

A man walking on a treadmill.

Cardiac rehab helps heart patients live well

It may not have the high profile of life-saving emergency care or advanced surgery, but cardiac rehabilitation plays a vital role during a patient’s recovery from a heart attack or heart surgery.

Cardiac rehabilitation helps patients regain function, return to daily activities, improve quality of life, increase endurance and reduce their risk of future heart problems. Rehab is the best way to learn how to successfully incorporate medical recommendations into daily routines. Patients can also benefit from lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and they also may lose weight.

ProHealth Care’s rehabilitation programs combine exercise and education. The programs are certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. A collaborative team of cardiac rehabilitation nurses, physicians, dietitians and exercise specialists contributes to each patient’s personalized rehabilitation program.

Cardiac rehab, which starts while a patient is still in the hospital, includes measurement of the patient’s blood oxygen level, heart rate and blood pressure during exercise. The goal is to ensure that each patient can safely reach and maintain a specified activity level over a period of time.

Once a patient returns home, outpatient cardiac rehab is recommended. This phase of the recovery process generally begins one to two weeks after a heart event. Outpatient rehab may be prescribed for six to 12 weeks, depending on the level of care that is needed.

During that time, the patient will exercise in the cardiac rehab gym and be monitored by rehab staff. The cardiac rehab team will help patients adjust to and follow medication, dietary and exercise requirements. It will also help patients gain the confidence they need to resume normal activities.

One of the most important aspects of heart care is a lifelong commitment to exercise, nutrition and regular check-ups. ProHealth offers an EXCEL program, which gives patients ongoing access to the cardiac rehab gym and helps patients maintain their heart health after completing their formal cardiac rehabilitation programs.

ProHealth Care offers cardiac rehabilitation in Oconomowoc and Waukesha. Each gym is a controlled environment, making cardiac rehab safe during the pandemic. Upon arrival, everyone’s temperature is checked. Screening for illness occurs and everyone must wear a mask and practice safe distancing.