Cardiac Rehabilitation

Rebuilding after a recent cardiac event

If you’ve had a heart event or are at risk for one, we can help. The Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness Program at Valley Baptist Medical Center guides heart patients through recovery, offering support, exercise and education for healthy lifestyle changes.  This program can help if you’ve had a recent heart attack, coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty, stents, other coronary interventions or coronary artery disease, or if you have risk factors for developing heart disease. 

  • Rebuilding strength and preventing future cardiac disease is essential after a coronary event.
  • Use an individualized rehabilitation plan to help you achieve an optimal level of health and fitness, created by our rehabilitation team and your physician.
  • Return more safely to work and other activities. 

Program benefits 

Cardiac rehabilitation provides education and support that strives to: 

  • Optimize fitness, flexibility, strength and endurance
  • Provide a greater sense of well-being, ability to cope with stress and renewed self-confidence
  • Improve quality of life
  • Increase energy
  • Assist with risk-factor modification, including smoking cessation, weight control and cholesterol management
  • Teach heart-healthy habits
  • Enable safe return to work and various activities 

Personalized program 

Your customized cardiac rehabilitation program might include: 

  • Medically supervised exercise and fitness sessions
  • Heart-healthy education
  • Nutrition counseling and classes
  • Stress management
  • Medical education library 

Medical team 

A cardiac rehabilitation exercise physiologist coordinates the program. The rehabilitation team also includes registered nurses and nutritionists who educate and follow the recovery of each patient. A certified dietitian is available for individual counseling with a physician referral. 

Treatment phases 

Phase I – Hospital Recovery 

The hospital cardiac care team assists patients with early mobilization, ambulation and self-care activities in preparation for continued recovery at home. Patients and families receive positive support and education from the care team. They learn about medication, nutrition, post-discharge exercise, diabetes education (when applicable) and heart-healthy lifestyle changes to modify risk factors. A physical therapist usually assists with this phase of the rehabilitation, as well. 

Phase II – Early Outpatient Recovery 

Usually a few weeks after leaving the hospital, the patient is encouraged to participate in outpatient cardiac rehabilitation. For the Phase II program, classes are held three times a week for eight to 12 weeks. The classes offer cardiac education, nutrition counseling, lifestyle modification, stress management and medically monitored exercise. An added benefit of the program is the camaraderie and support of fellow patients. 

Aerobic and strengthening exercise helps build cardiovascular strength and stamina. The rehabilitation team prescribes an exercise regime based on an individual evaluation, health history and individual exercise goals. A registered nurse and exercise physiologist supervise the exercise classes and monitor participants’ heart function with cardiac telemetry. Participants learn their exercise limits and develop a home exercise program to maintain fitness. 

Phase III – Maintenance

Phase III continues to offer a comprehensive approach with increased levels of autonomy and independence to heighten participants’ sense of well-being and quality of life. The medical team continues to guide and reinforce long-term goals and to help maintain healthy lifestyle changes. Participants may begin to experience increased fitness and vitality.  

Phase IV – Ongoing Education and Fitness Program 

Phase IV continues to offer comprehensive cardiac education, support and exercise with patients transitioning to greater independence in their everyday activities. 

Insurance reimbursement 

Medical insurance may cover Phase II cardiac rehabilitation. Participants generally pay for Phases III and IV themselves.   


The cardiac rehabilitation coordinator visits cardiac patients in the hospital and introduces the program. Their physician authorizes the referral. Classes usually begin several weeks after hospital discharge.

Additional Resources