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Cardiovascular Care

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Our Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is a rehabilitation program for those who have experienced a cardiac event or those with heart disease. This four-phase program includes recovery plan, education, lifestyle modifications, and gradual integration of exercise maintenance.cardiac rehab 2

About Cardiac Rehabilitation

After a cardiac event, it is natural to have many concerns and questions, such as:

  • “What can I do to stay heart-healthy, and avoid another episode?”
  • “How do I know when my physical activity level is too high, or too low?”
  • “Will I still be able to do many of the activities I once enjoyed?”

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at South Shore Hospital works to answer patients’ questions and guide and assist them in adjusting to lifestyle changes following a cardiac event. With the rehabilitation staff’s guidance, patients are able to identify their specific risk factors for cardiac disease and outline goals and plans to alter them. Our expert staff helps patients return to a healthy, productive life.

Phases of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Phase I begins in the hospital within two to five days of a cardiac event, and includes an activity-progression program and patient education.

The outpatient program consists of three phases: Phases II, III and IV.

Phases II-III includes the convalescent and intermediate periods of recovery, and provides a comprehensive approach to lifestyle modifications.

Phase IV is an exercise transition program beginning after completion of Phases II and III. This program is an opportunity for patients to make a strong commitment to their lifestyle changes in a supervised hospital based setting.

Joining the Program

Phases II and III are open to individuals with the following conditions:

  • heart attack
  • cardiac surgery
  • coronary bypass graft (CABG)
  • valve replacement (VR)
  • heart transplant
  • percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
  • angina
  • balloon angioplasty/stent

Patients must obtain an order from a physician to participate in the program. Patients who have not already had a stress test must contact their physician and schedule one prior to admission. Patients are also asked to request that their physician’s office forward medical records to the cardiac rehabilitation department.

An admission appointment will be scheduled with a rehabilitation nurse to review each patient’s medical history, risk factors, and goals. At this time, patient and nurse will agree upon a start date for the program. Participation in all cardiac rehabilitation components is strongly recommended.

cardiac rehab 1Components of Phases II and III

1. Risk-Factor Education

A weekly educational class is presented on topics related to cardiac risk factor modification. 

Subjects include:

  • Anatomy of the heart
  • Cardiac medications
  • Angina vs. heart attack
  • Dining-out tips
  • Principles of exercise
  • Stress management
  • Reading food labels
  • Guidelines for cardiac risk factors
  • Making lifestyle changes

2. Stress Management

Stress is a major contributing factor to heart ailments and other health problems. Classes are offered to help patients relieve daily stress and learn more about its cause and effect. Staff will help patients identify stressors, learn positive coping skills, and practice relaxation techniques.

3. Exercise

Patients participate in structred exercise sessions. The exercise prescription is individualized for each patient’s specific needs by an exercise physiologist, and is updated at frequent intervals. The level of exercise is determined by the individual’s physical condition and exercise-tolerance test results.

Exercise equipment available:

  • Stationary bicycles
  • Arm ergometers
  • Treadmills
  • Low-level weights
  • Rowing machines
  • Elliptical trainer
  • Nu-step seated cross trainer

Blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rhythm are monitored before, during, and after exercise by a registered nurse and an exercise physiologist. The rehabilitation staff will also assist patients in developing a home-exercise program.

Program Staff

The cardiac rehabilitation program is overseen by a board-certified cardiologist on staff at South Shore Hospital. As medical director, this physician provides his expertise to guide the multidisciplinary cardiac rehabilitation staff of registered nurses, exercise physiologists, and registered dietitians. A registered pharmacist is also on hand to advise patients during the program.

Our staff work closely with the referring physician to accomplish each patient's individualized goals and/or restore/maintain each patient’s functional mobility based on the referring diagnosis.

Program Fees/Insurance Coverage

The cardiac rehabilitation program is either fully or partially covered by many insurance providers. Patients should contact their insurance provider to obtain information regarding the number of sessions covered and what percentage of each session is covered. The participant is responsible for validating his/her insurance coverage for cardiac rehabilitation, and should document who has provided him/her with this information in case further questions need to be clarified.

American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitaiton

The Cardiac Rehab program recently earned national certification from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).  Certification verifies that our program meets the strict standards of the AACVPR.  AACVPR certification provides the cardiac patients with the added benefit that the services they are receiving at South Shore Hospital have been nationally recognized as “best practice” models.  Certification with AACVPR is required every three years.

Our Location

Brooks 4

More Information

For further information about the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at South Shore Hospital, call 781-624-8824. We are available to answer your questions.


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