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What is cardiac rehab?
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is proven to keep you out of hospital and reduce your risk of death from heart conditions.

Key takeaways

  • Cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab) is a program that helps you make healthy lifestyle changes.  
  • It involves support, exercise and education to help strengthen your heart. 
  • It’s safe and comfortable for people of all ages and fitness levels. 
  • A team of health professionals create a tailored physical activity program to suit your needs. 
  • It’s important to continue your healthy lifestyle changes after you’ve finished your program. 
3 min read
Cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab) is a program of support, exercise and education that’s led by health professionals and personalised to strengthen your heart. It helps you make long-term lifestyle changes so you can live a longer, healthier life. 

It helps your recovery after a heart event, procedure or the diagnosis of a heart condition. Cardiac rehab also helps lower your chances of having heart problems in the future. 

Cardiac rehab is proven to keep you out of hospital and reduce your risk of death from heart conditions.  

Cardiac rehab usually starts in hospital, but continues after you’ve left, either at home or in another location, such as a community centre. It often runs for 6 to 10 weeks, depending on your program and your health condition.  

Programs can be: 
 
  • Face-to-face 
  • Over the telephone 
  • On the internet 
  • In a group or one-on-one 
  • In hospitals, community centres or clinics 
  • In your home. 

As cardiac rehab often involves physical activity and exercise to improve heart health, it can sometimes be daunting. Don’t worry if you find some exercises challenging or have never done them before. An expert will give you safe exercises to suit your ability. 

Through a cardiac rehab program, you’ll be better able to return to your usual activities, such as working, driving or having sex. 

Is cardiac rehab for you? 

Cardiac rehab is recommended for you if you’ve had:
 
  • Coronary heart disease 
  • A heart attack or admission for angina  
  • A stent procedure or heart surgery (bypass, valve or artery surgery) 
  • Heart failure and cardiomyopathy 
  • Heart transplant 
  • A device insertion, for example a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator 
  • A cardiac arrest 
  • In-heart electrical rhythm problems, such as atrial fibrillation 
  • High blood pressure in your lungs (pulmonary hypertension) 
  • A stroke or mini stroke (TIA) 
  • An event (stent, PCI, CAGS). 
Each cardiac rehab service will have its own areas of specialty. For example, some support atrial fibrillation patients while others don’t.

To find out which program is best for you, speak to your healthcare team or contact your local cardiac rehab program. To find your closest cardiac rehab service, use the Heart Foundation’s Cardiac Services Directory.  

More about cardiac rehab

Finding a cardiac rehab program

You can find a cardiac rehab program by asking the hospital staff or your doctor. They’ll help you enrol in a program near you.  

Alternatively, search our Cardiac Services Directory, or contact our Heart Foundation Helpline on 13 11 12.  


Find a program near you

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