/ Regional Heart Center
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is cardiac rehabilitation and who does it benefit?
A: Cardiac rehabilitation is a comprehensive program that includes exercise training, education, and risk factor modification. It provides support and counseling to encourage positive behavior changes. The program benefits not only the patient, but their family as well. Family history for heart and vascular disease is one risk factor you cannot modify, so risk factor reduction should be embraced by the whole family.
Q: If there is one thing you can pass on from this program, what would it be?
A: Maintain your regular exercise program, getting physical activity most or all days of the week.
Q: The heart is constantly being worked. Why doesn't it automatically get itself back into shape?
A: Yes, your heart is constantly beating, however many of the benefits of exercise occur in the periphery; the muscles in your arms, legs, and the blood vessels that supply them. To benefit your heart and vascular system you need to exercise at a moderate intensity. In cardiac rehab we help you establish what intensity is best and SAFE for you.
Q: How soon after a heart attack can someone begin a program like this?
A: As soon as your physician refers you, which can be as early as one week after your event.
Q: Is this recommended for older patients?
A: Absolutely! Cardiac Rehab can help older adults maintain an active and independent lifestyle.
Q: Is this elective or are all patients who have major heart surgery required to do this?
A: Cardiac Rehab is highly recommended, but not required. Research findings show average cardiac death was 26% lower in cardiac rehab patients who were exercise trained compared with those who received "usual care". There were also 21% fewer nonfatal heart attacks, 13% fewer bypass surgeries & 19% fewer angioplasties in the exercise-trained people (AHA Journal Report 1/24/05)
Q: Is it covered by insurance and Medicare?
A: Medicare coverage of cardiac rehabilitation programs is considered reasonable and necessary only for patients who: (1) have a documented diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction within the preceding 12 months; or (2) have had coronary bypass surgery; or (3) have stable angina pectoris; or (4) have had heart valve repair/replacement; or (5) have had percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or coronary stenting; or (6) have had a heart or heart-lung transplant.