Man exercising on a Cardiac Rehabilitation machine

Heart conditions can impact a person’s physical abilities in a number of different ways. Maintaining your strength, balance and functional abilities is an important component of your overall process of care, and is critical in maintaining a good quality of life, during and following your treatment. 

Our programs are for patients interested in either prevention of, or recovery from, cardiovascular disease. The UM St. Joseph cardiac rehabilitation team creates an individualized plan for each patient, with focus on “where you are versus where you want to be.” 

Cardiac Rehabilitation services are provided by the Cardiovascular Fitness Department at UM St. Joseph. 

The Cardiac Rehab Program has been awarded Program Certification by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). Certification recognizes those programs that have been rigorously reviewed by a national board and found to meet the outlined essential requirements for standards of care. 

Who Will Benefit from Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Cardiac Rehabilitation is for you if you have experienced any of the following:

  • Heart attack
  • Stable angina
  • Bypass surgery
  • Balloon angioplasty (PTCA) and/or stent
  • Valve surgery
  • Heart transplant
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)

Enrolling in a cardiac rehabilitation program is typically recommended as an important part of a post-surgical treatment plan for patients who have had surgery for their heart condition.

Cardiac rehabilitation also plays an important role in preventive cardiology - helping those who are at high risk of heart disease. 

What are the Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation?

  • Reduced risk of heart attack.
  • Ability to recognize heart disease signs and symptoms.
  • Improved ability to cope with heart disease.
  • Introduction to a personalized exercise program that is effective, safe and appropriate for your health, age and physical ability.
  • Increased understanding of heart medications.
  • Assistance in preparing to return to work.
  • Increased physical activity for work and recreation.
  • Adoption of positive lifestyle changes to improve quality of life.

Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have found that Cardiac Rehabilitation services help you control your risk factors for heart disease so that you can lead a healthier life. Cardiac Rehabilitation can improve survival rates after a heart attack by more than 50 percent.

What Happens in Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation activities will depend on the program the patient is participating in. Our classes/programs include: 

Phase I of Recovery

The first phase of rehabilitation provides education as well as psychological and social support for hospitalized heart patients. In this phase, patients begin to increase their level of activity. In this early stage of rehabilitation, we help open-heart patients:

  • Appreciate the importance of entering cardiac rehabilitation following open heart surgery
  • Learn specially designed range-of-motion exercises to increase flexibility and assist in healing
  • Review appropriate progression of activity and exercise guidelines
  • Review the guidelines for the appropriate progression of activity and exercise

Road to Recovery

Road to Recovery is a class that helps open heart surgery patients transition from Phase I to Phase II of Cardiac Rehabilitation. This class takes place within 10 to 14 days after discharge from the hospital.

Road to Recovery provides these patients and their loved ones with an opportunity to learn and ask questions about next steps in the open heart surgery recovery process.

Phase II Cardiac Rehabilitation

This early phase is designed for those recovering from a heart attack, bypass surgery, stable angina, arrhythmia, stabilized congestive heart failure or angioplasty.

Sessions in Phase II provide intensified education and counseling in risk factor modification, as well as exercise. Patients learn how to make healthy changes in diet, activity level and daily living that will contribute to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Exercise is individualized, progressive, monitored and supervised. Patients attend sessions three times a week for up to 12 weeks. The length of Phase II may vary based on medical status and reimbursement potential. Prospective patients are encouraged to verify coverage through their medical insurance carrier. Cardiovascular Fitness staff are available to help guide patients through this process.

The Outpatient (Phase II) Program will assist you in your efforts to achieve and maintain good health. Services are provided by our team of cardiac professionals and include exercise training, health education and lifestyle counseling help individuals understand their specific heart condition and find ways to reduce their risk for future heart problems. Each participant receives individualized attention from the cardiac rehab team while enjoying the benefits of exercising in a monitored setting.

Phase II Cardiac Rehabilitation sessions provide monitored exercise, education and counseling in risk factor reduction. Participants learn how to make healthy changes in diet, activity level and daily living that contribute to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Exercise is individualized, progressive, specific to each participant and supervised by cardiac rehab personnel.

Sessions run approximately 60-90 minutes, two or three times a week for up to 12 weeks. Length of the program may vary based on medical status and medical insurance stipulations.

Make an Appointment

A physician referral is required. All necessary paperwork will be sent to your physician’s office.

Most health insurances cover Cardiac Rehabilitation, but we do recommend you contact your insurance carrier to verify benefits and coverage. Several self-pay options are also available.

To make an appointment, please call 410-337-1366. 

Parking for Cardiovascular Fitness at UM St. Joseph

Parking for patients and visitors is available in the Patient/Visitor parking garage located next to the O'Dea Medical Arts Building. Patients and visitors are cautioned not to park in reserved areas or certain restricted areas. Please be sure to lock your car. If something happens which causes you to need assistance with your vehicle, please call the Security department. From outside the medical center, please call 410-337-1919; in-house, dial extension 3333.

For more information, please call the Cardiovascular Fitness department at 410-337-1366.