What is Cardiac Rehab?

You may know someone who has been referred to “Cardiac Rehab;” but what is it? And why does someone need it?

Cardiac Rehab is a medically supervised program consisting of clinically monitored exercise sessions, tailored to a patient’s needs and goals. Cardiac Rehab is covered by most insurances for those who have had a heart attack in the past 12 months, coronary artery bypass surgery, heart transplant, heart valve repair or replacement, stable heart failure, coronary stenting, or stable angina.

PMH’s cardiac rehab program generally consists of one-hour sessions, three days per week, for 12 weeks. Overall goals of the program include establishing safe limits of exercise for the patient as they recover from a cardiac event or procedure, creating a regular exercise routine for the patient that they can continue on their own after finishing the 12 weeks, and educating the patient on healthy habits. Feedback is also provided to the patient’s physician about their progress and any concerns regarding how their heart is responding during exercise.

Most people are not sure how far they can push themselves and how fast they can return to activities that would have been normal for them prior to the event or surgery that triggered their referral to Cardiac Rehab, and that is why this program is so important. The patient in Cardiac Rehab will have the clinical monitoring and support from rehab staff that will help them to understand safe ranges of exercise during rehab. Throughout the program, they will have the opportunity to ask questions and find the answers that they need in order to feel confident about how their body is reacting to exercise during rehab sessions and then learn how to relate that same level of intensity to activities outside of the rehab setting.
Another reason to complete a cardiac rehab program is because the body’s ability to adapt is exceptional, and the heart performs better when it is challenged to change. Physical activity that elevates heart rate can, over the course of time: cause the heart to generate collateral arteries that act as natural bypasses, reduce resting heart rate and reduce resting blood pressure. All these changes make the heart healthier by increasing its efficiency.

PMH’s Cardiac Rehab program is headed up by Charles Kinnison, a Pocahontas County native and resident of Hillsboro. Kinnison is a 2002 graduate of WVU School of Medicine’s Division of Exercise Physiology and has many years of experience in exercise physiology, both with Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and with fitness assessments of healthy and at-risk populations.

To learn more about our Cardiac Rehab program please call 304-799-7400 ext. 1054.