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Cardiac Rehabilitation

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Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program for people who have had a heart attack, heart failure, heart valve surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting, or coronary angioplasty.

Cardiac rehabilitation involves adopting heart-healthy lifestyle changes to address risk factors for cardiovascular disease. To help you adopt lifestyle changes, this program includes exercise training, education on heart-healthy living, and counseling to reduce stress and help you return to an active life.

Cardiac rehabilitation can improve your health and quality of life, decrease the chance you will go back to a hospital or emergency room for a heart problem, prevent future heart problems, and even help you live longer.

Our services are offered across all 3 Hosptial sites at Worcestershire Royal, the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre as well as Evesham Community Hospital. 

Our cardiac rehab team provide patients with the following advice and information:

  • Patient assessment (Symptoms and compliance with treatment)
  • Physical activity counselling
  • Exercise training
  • Diet/Nutritional counselling
  • Risk factor control including smoking cessation
  • Patient education
  • Psychosocial management
  • Vocational advice

 The service is suitable for the following patient groups:

  • Acute coronary syndrome—including ST elevation myocardial infarction, non-ST elevation myocardial infarction, and unstable angina—and all patients undergoing angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Confirmed diagnosis of exertional angina
  • Newly diagnosed chronic heart failure
  • Heart valve replacements for reasons other than acute coronary syndrome and heart failure
  • Heart transplant and ventricular assist device
  • Patients who have undergone implantation of intra-cardiac defibrillator or cardiac resynchronisation therapy 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does cardiac rehab help?

Cardiac rehabilitation programmes will help you to:

  • understand your condition
  • recover from your surgery, procedure or heart attack
  • make changes to your lifestyle that will help improve your heart health
  • reduce the risk of further heart problems.

Who is cardiac rehab for?

Cardiac rehabilitation is available to anyone who has had:

  • a heart attack
  • a coronary angioplasty
  • heart surgery
  • some people who have angina or heart failure
  • some people who have an ICD implanted.

When do I start cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation starts as soon as you go into hospital for heart surgery or treatment, or after you’ve had a heart attack.

A member of the cardiac rehabilitation team will normally visit you on the ward to provide you with information about your condition, the treatment you've had and your recovery. This will help you get back to your usual activities as soon as possible.

You should also be invited to join a cardiac rehabilitation programme starting about four to eight weeks after you leave hospital.

Where’s my nearest cardiac rehabilitation programme?

You can find out where your nearest cardiac rehabilitation programme is by visiting cardiac-rehabilitation.net or by calling our Heart Helpline on 0300 330 3311.

What if I can't attend a cardiac rehabilitation programme?

You may find that your condition or circumstances make it difficult for you to travel to a cardiac rehabilitation programme centre. If so, you should talk to the cardiac rehabilitation team about other ways you can benefit from the programme - you may be able to follow a programme in your own home with support from your local cardiac rehabilitation team.

Sexual activity after heart attack?

Usually we reassure patients that after recovery from an MI, sexual activity presents no greater risk of triggering a subsequent MI than if they had never had an MI. We advise patients who have made an uncomplicated recovery after their MI that they can resume sexual activity when they feel comfortable to do so, usually after about 4 weeks.

When treating erectile dysfunction, treatment with a PDE5 (phosphodiesterase inhibitors) may be considered in men who have had an MI more than 6months earlier and who are now stable. PDE5 inhibitors must be avoided in patients treated with nitrates or nicorandil because this can lead to dangerously low blood pressure.

Lifestyle changes after an MI?

Changing diet

We advise people to eat a Mediterranean-style diet (more bread, fruit, vegetables and fish; less meat; and replace butter and cheese with products based on plant oils). We do not routinely recommend eating oily fish for the sole purpose of preventing another MI. If people after an MI choose to consume oily fish, this may form part of a Mediterranean-style diet.

We offer people an individual consultation to discuss diet, including their current eating habits, and advice on improving their diet. We give people consistent dietary advice tailored to their needs. We aim to give people healthy eating advice that can be extended to the whole family.

Alcohol consumption

We advise people who drink alcohol to keep weekly consumption within safe limits (no more than 21 units of alcohol per week for men, or 14 units per week for women) and to avoid binge drinking (more than 3 alcoholic drinks in 1–2 hours).

Regular physical activity

We advise people to undertake regular physical activity sufficient to increase exercise capacity. Advise people to be physically active for 20–30 minutes a day to the point of slight breathlessness. Advise people who are not active to this level to increase their activity in a gradual, step-by-step way, aiming to increase their exercise capacity.

They should start at a level that is comfortable, and increase the duration and intensity of activity as they gain fitness. Advice on physical activity usually involves a discussion about current and past activity levels and preferences. The benefit of exercise may be enhanced by tailored advice from a suitably qualified professional.

Smoking cessation

We advise all people who smoke to stop and offer assistance from a smoking cessation service in line with Brief interventions and referral for smoking cessation. All patients who smoke and who have expressed a desire to quit should be offered support and advice, and referral to an intensive support service (for example, the NHS Stop Smoking Services) in line with Brief interventions and referral for smoking cessation.

If a patient is unable or unwilling to accept a referral they should be offered pharmacotherapy in line with the recommendations in Smoking cessation services.

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