Cardiac Rehabilitation

After a heart procedure or cardiac event (like a heart attack), your doctor may prescribe cardiac rehabilitation to restore your strength. At Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, our heart care team partners with physical therapists and exercise physiologists to design personalized and safe exercise programs. We work together to help you recover safely and effectively.

Who Needs Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehab is for anyone who had a heart procedure or a heart event. It is a medically supervised exercise program that helps you recover, regain strength and return to the activities you love. In addition, cardiac rehab can help reduce your risk of future heart problems.

If you had any of these conditions or procedures, cardiac rehab can help you recover safely:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart condition, including:
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Angina
    • Heart failure
  • Heart procedure or surgery, including:
    • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery
    • Angioplasty
    • Valve replacement
    • Device implantation such as a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)

When you will begin rehab:

  • Inpatient procedures: If you had a major heart surgery, you may start cardiac rehab in the hospital.
  • Outpatient procedures: If you had a procedure such as interventional cardiac procedures in the cath lab, you may start rehab within 1 to 2 weeks.

How Cardiac Rehab Works

You work with therapists and movement specialists to design an exercise program that helps you build strength and endurance. Your cardiac rehab program may use:

  • Treadmills
  • Stationary bikes
  • Free weights
  • Weight machines
  • Mat work with equipment such as stability ball and resistance bands

About your rehab program:

  1. Safety: We ensure your safety by closely monitoring your heart, oxygen saturation (level of oxygen in the blood) and blood pressure as you exercise.
  2. Communication: Your rehab team and cardiac care team communicate with each other and with you about your progress. We adjust the rehab plan as necessary to meet your changing needs.
  3. Length: Your program will last at least 6 weeks, but you may continue for 6 months or more (depending on your physical health and the severity of your heart procedure).
  4. Continuing rehab: Your cardiologist may also prescribe an exercise program for you to continue at home (or at a gym).

Contact Us

To make an appointment, or for more information, contact the Vanderbilt Dayani Center for Health and Wellness at (615) 322-4751.