Cardiac rehabilitation: return to active life after an intervention

Cardiac rehabilitation It is an established form of active follow-up for people who have suffered a myocardial infarction, or who were surgically operated on the heart. Each particular case benefits from different programs.

Basically Cardiac rehabilitation consists of health education and exercise, as well as emotional support. The objective is to improve the quality of life of the cardiac patient so that he performs all his activities in the most normal way possible.

In addition, as a further objective, It is intended that the person becomes aware of the life habits that must be modified so as not to fall back into a cardiac episode. It could be said that in cardiac rehabilitation education is more important than the exercises that are programmed.

Cardiology associations in countries around the world recommend cardiac rehabilitation programs. There is no doubt about its effectiveness. It has already been shown with scientific studies that are able to reduce the risk of angina pectoris and heart attacks in the future of these patients.

Who benefits from cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation programs cannot be applied directly to any patient with ischemic heart disease. A selection is made of those who would benefit most from the program to include them.

In any case, there is consensus in considering that those who have suffered or suffer benefit:

  • Heart failure: It is a pathology where the heart does not have enough strength to boost blood to the circulatory system. These patients are very affected their daily lives because they are complicated to perform common activities.
  • Angina pectoris: It is the recurrent pain in the chest caused by the lower arrival of blood to the heart muscle. Cardiac rehabilitation is essential to prevent it from progressing to an acute myocardial infarction.
  • Acute myocardial infarction: It is the serious and deadly pathology par excellence of the heart. Cardiac cell death occurs due to the large decrease in blood flow to the heart.
  • Peripheral arterial disease: When arteriosclerosis clogs arteries in the upper or lower limbs, peripheral arterial disease appears. The risk factors are similar to those of ischemic heart disease.
  • Cardiological surgeries: When there was no solution other than surgery, the patient is then accompanied by cardiac rehabilitation to reinsert it into society and their living environment.
  • Heart transplant: It is the last resort in cardiac pathology. Although it is not very frequent, more and more scientific advances allow it to be considered an option for very serious patients who have no other alternative.

Read on: Heart transplant: what it is

Phases and equipment of cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation has three phases, of which the last two are those that correspond to the exercise and education program. These phases are:

  • Hospitalization or diagnosis: The first phase is the characterization of the patient. After studies and evaluation of the medical team, it is determined that the person can benefit from the rehabilitation program. Then he is admitted.
  • Active program: the patient enters cardiac rehabilitation and Start your training plan, psychological interviews, health education and medical follow-up for pharmacological control. This phase lasts what is necessary in each case.
  • High: The third phase is a high process, when the rehabilitation team understands that the patient is able to continue with the lifestyle change on your own in the usual everyday environment.

These phases are accompanied and guided by a multidisciplinary team. The professionals who commonly intervene They are:

  • Cardiologist: It will be who defines the plan and administers the pharmacological management.
  • Nurse: In general, the nursing service guides the daily life of the program with the proper record of the facts.
  • Kinesiologist / physiotherapist: He will be in charge of the exercises and their supervision.
  • Physiatrist: Together with the physiotherapist, develop the exercises.
  • Psychologist: It addresses the emotional factor of the patient in cardiac rehabilitation, supporting the process from the affective.

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What does cardiac rehabilitation include

As we said at the beginning, Cardiac rehabilitation is not just a kinesiological exercise program, but rather a health education. Therefore, it consists of several areas, including:

  • Medical assessment: The medical body determines which rehabilitation is appropriate and which medication must accompany the post-cardiac event process to improve internal parameters.
  • Exercises: in cardiac rehabilitation, exercises that the patient can perform and improve the heart muscle are programmed. They are varied, from stationary bike to controlled weightlifting.
  • Education for health: The pillar of the program is for the patient to change his lifestyle. For this he is educated about good eating habits and physical activity. You are taught to manage stress, when to consult on time without delay, what practices are harmful and the control of other diseases that could complicate it.