cardiac rehab questions & answers

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?

There are three major components:

  1. Exercise training to help you learn how to exercise safely, strengthen your muscles and improve your stamina.
  2. Education, counseling and training to help you understand your heart condition and find ways to reduce your risk of future heart problems.
  3. A friendly and safe environment is provided to discuss your concerns and individual issues.

What kind of exercises will I be doing?

The program benefits people of all backgrounds whether you come in a wheelchair or start as an athlete. The program includes aerobic exercises of the large muscle groups in your arms and legs to help improve your endurance and strength. The goal is heart health and there are many ways to accomplish the task. We will select a special group of exercises on machines such as treadmills, arm machines, bicycles of many types, light weights etc. to specifically meet your needs.


I am exercising at home.  Why should I come to Cardiac Rehabilitation?

You will be connected to a telemetry monitor so your heart rate and rhythm are closely monitored as you develop a safe exercise program that can be continued after Cardiac Rehab is complete. Your blood pressure and workload are also evaluated. This evaluation will give you an idea of what activity level you can safely do at home. The Cardiac Rehab nurse will relay any concerns about your body’s response to exercise or any other related medical issues to your doctor. Regular reports of your program are sent to your referring doctor.   


How long will I have to attend Cardiac Rehabilitation?

The length of your program is based on your history and your rate of progress. It is individualized but generally consists of one hour sessions, 2-3 times a week for four to twelve weeks.


What are the hours and what if I’m working?

Cardiac Rehabilitation (Phase 2) takes place Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 6:30 a.m. with the last session ending at 6:30 p.m. There is a large restroom with a changing area and shower for anyone who wants to shower before going to work.


Will my insurance cover the cost?

Most insurance companies cover Cardiac Rehab including Medicare. Medicare will cover 80% for the following diagnosis only:  Coronary bypass surgery, valve replacement, heart transplant, angioplasty with stent, heart attack within the last year, and some cases of angina. Other insurances also cover hypertension and other cardiac conditions. The Cardiac Rehab Team will discuss your coverage with you before you enroll in the program so you can make an informed decision about participation.


What educational topics are discussed?

  • Class taught by a dietician once a month
  • Nutrition issues and heart healthy eating
  • Weight loss issues
  • High blood pressure and what it does to your blood vessel
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Medication Education
  • Smoking cessation
  • Reducing “bad” cholesterol, raising “good” cholesterol

Can I continue the program after completion if I want to?

There is a Maintenance (Phase 3) Program that takes place on Tuesday and Friday for people who want to continue exercise in a safe environment. It is less structured, but blood pressure and heart rates are monitored periodically.


For more information about Cardiac Rehabilitation, call the Diagnostic Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at 301-552-8058.



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