Heart disease is a serious affliction in America. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) about 1 in 4 deaths in the United States is due to heart disease and roughly 735,000 Americans have a heart attack each year (210,000 of which occur in people who have already had one before). 1 Fortunately, there are many tactics to improve a person’s function, endurance and overall health after they have any sort of heart problems whether it be attack, failure, coronary artery disease or even procedures such as having a stent/balloon in place. Generally, after an event and the patient is stable, their physician will recommend cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) to improve quality of life, decrease risk of another heart problem and help return a person as close to their prior level of function as possible.
When it comes to cardiac rehab, physical therapy can help to improve a person’s endurance, strength and reduce the risk of death or re-hospitalization through a combination of exercise training, coping and compensation strategies while your body is healing and ensuring the patient knows the best route to recovery. Fortunately, the evidence supports the use of cardiac rehab for people who have coronary artery disease, heart failure, heart attacks or who have had coronary interventions such as stents or balloons implanted. These demographics have been shown to decrease their chances of another cardiac event taking place, improve their quality of life, decrease the risk of going back to the hospital and improve their long-term mortality rate with proper adherence to a well-designed program. 2, 3, 4, & 5
If you or someone you know has suffered one of these life changing events, take control of your health and inquire about cardiac rehabilitation to ensure you can get the most out of life and keep your heart as healthy as possible!
1. Heart Disease Facts. Retrieved from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on November 10, 2016 at http://www.cdc.gov/HeartDisease/facts.htm.
2. Blumenthal JA, Sherwood A, Smith PJ, Watkins L, Mabe S, Kraus WE, Ingle K, Miller P and Hinderliter A. Enhancing cardiac rehabilitation with stress management training: a randomized, clinical efficacy trial. Circulation. 2016 Apr 5; 133(14): 1341-50.
3. Anderson L, Thompson DR, Oldridge N, Zwisler AD, Rees L, Martin N and Taylor RS. Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation for coronary heart disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2016 Jan 5;(1):CD001800.
4. Taylor RS, Sagar VA, Davies EJ, Briscoe S, Coats AJ, Dalal H, Lough F, Rees K, and Singh S. Exercise-based rehabilitation for heart failure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2014 Apr 27;(4):CD003331.
5. Goel K, Lennon RJ, Tilbury T, Squires RW. And Thomas RJ. Impact of cardiac rehabilitation on mortality and cardiovascular events after percutaneous coronary intervention in the community. Circulation. 2016 Nov 8;(134):19.