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Cardiac Rehabilitation: An Important Step to Recovery

When you go home after your heart surgery, it is strongly advised that you join a cardiac rehabilitation  program. Joining a program can help patients recover to a full and active life after heart surgery.

An Outpatient Program Can Help You in These Ways:

  • Exercise helps you to get back energy and strength during recovery. Your exercise program will be tailored to your specific condition, needs, and interests.
  • Education helps you to understand your heart disease. You will learn how to choose a healthy way of life to lower your risk of future heart problems.
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How Do I Get Started?

At your four-week office visit, talk to your surgeon about cardiac rehab. Ask if he or she advises outpatient cardiac rehab for you. If so, ask your surgeon for a cardiac rehab prescription. Then call a cardiac rehab program near you. The hospital’s cardiac rehab staff can help you to find a program in your area.

What Can Exercise Do for Me?

Exercise is vital if you want to heal as fully as you can. Regular exercise increases your quality of life. Physical activities like walking, biking, and swimming are a type of exercise called aerobics. Regular aerobic exercise will help your heart pump with less effort. Also, regular aerobic exercise may help to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, manage weight loss, control blood sugar, and give an overall sense of well-being. You need to take part in aerobic activity for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day to help.

Your rate of progress will depend on things such as your age, how active you were before surgery, and any other illness or limits you may have.

What Type of Exercise Should I Do?

You will be given an exercise plan if you are going home after you leave the hospital. The cardiac rehab staff will outline the home exercise plan for your specific needs. It will be based on your age, your health, and your activity level before surgery and your progress after surgery.

To learn more about heart surgery at UPMC, check out our What to Expect: Heart Surgery booklet.