Cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation — also called cardiac rehab — is a customized outpatient program of exercise and education. Cardiac rehabilitation is designed to help you recover from a heart attack, other forms of heart disease or surgery to treat heart disease.

Cardiac rehabilitation is often divided into phases that involve monitored exercise, nutritional counseling, emotional support, and support and education about lifestyle changes to reduce your risks of heart problems. The goals of cardiac rehabilitation are to establish an individualized plan to help you regain strength, to prevent your condition from worsening, to reduce your risk of future heart problems, and to improve your health and quality of life.

Cardiac rehabilitation programs increase your chances of survival. Both the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend cardiac rehabilitation programs.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Cardiac rehabilitation is an option for people with many forms of heart disease. In particular, you may benefit from cardiac rehabilitation if your medical history includes:

  • Heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Certain congenital heart diseases
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Angioplasty and stents
  • Heart or lung transplant
  • Heart valve repair or replacements

Don't let your age hold you back from joining a cardiac rehabilitation program. People of all ages can benefit from cardiac rehabilitation.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use