Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised exercise programme for patients with a cardiac(heart) condition and/or cardiovascular disease.
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common form of heart disease. It occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the heart narrow or harden from the build-up of plaque. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol and other substances found in the blood. This plaque build-up is also known as atherosclerosis. The site of the plaque determines the type of heart disease:
• Coronary artery disease is the build-up of plaque in the arteries supplying blood to the heart.
• Peripheral artery disease is the build-up of plaque in the arteries supplying blood to the arms and legs.
• Carotid artery disease is the build-up of plaque in the arteries that supply blood to the brain.
Cardiac rehabilitation involves adopting healthy lifestyle changes to address risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
These interventions include:
Non-modifiable Risk factors:
Modifiable Risk Factors:
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.
Prior to commencing with your cardiac rehabilitation sessions, your biokineticist will contact your doctor for all your medical history and results from your cardiac assessments (electrocardiogram (ECG), cardiac imaging tests) and receive a confirmation letter of clearance to commence exercise.
Your biokineticist will then take your medical history and do a physical exam. This includes your body composition measurements and functional capacity assessments so to document baseline measurements and further understand your physical capabilities.
Possible tests may include a walk test on land or on a treadmill or a stationary bike exercise test.
Following this assessment, your biokineticist will design a specific exercise programme to accommodate your individual rehabilitation requirements.
As we know, physical exercise is a stressor to the body therefore during a cardiac rehabilitation session, the individual is closely monitored with the use of heart rate monitors and blood pressure measurements.
The reason for continuous monitoring during exercise is important so to reduce the risk of possible cardiac abnormalities but also to the maximise the benefit of the exercise session.
Very rarely, physical activity can cause cardiac abnormalities. If serious abnormalities do occur during the supervised sessions, the biokineticist will immediately stop the physical activity, administer appropriate treatment, and contact your doctor.
During cardiac rehabilitation, you will learn to exercise safely and increase your physical activity. The duration of time that you spend in cardiac rehabilitation will depend on your physical condition.
• Coronary artery atherosclerosis – buildup of plaque on the walls of the coronary arteries
• Angina – severe pain in the chest, often spreading to the shoulders, arms, neck and jaw caused by an inadequate blood supply to the heart muscle
• Angioplasty and Stenting – non-surgical procedures used to treat stenotic (narrowed) coronary arteries
• Myocardial Infarction / heart attack – death of heart muscle tissue due to the loss of blood supply, usually caused by a complete blockage of one or more of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscle
• Coronary artery bypass graft – a surgical procedure that grafts blood vessels onto arteries to reroute the blood flow around blockages in the arteries
• Cardiac valve surgery – repair or replacement of a defected or diseased heart valve
• Cardiac failure – a weakening of the heart muscle that occurs slowly over time, usually caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure, a heart attack, or a heart valve that does not work properly.
• Cardiomyopathy – disease of the muscle of the heart
• Cardiac arrhythmias – abnormal heart rates and rhythms
• Pacemaker – a small device that is placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms
• Stroke – occurs if the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the brain is blocked. Without oxygen, brain cells start to die. Sudden bleeding in the brain also can cause a stroke if it damages brain cells. If brain cells die or are damaged because of a stroke, symptoms occur in the parts of the body that these brain cells control.
• is a narrowing and hardening of the vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the legs and feet resulting in claudication. Claudication refers to the pain, fatigue of the muscle and numbness that is experienced.