Cardiovascular Rehabilitation & Prevention
Cardiac conditions such as heart attacks, valve disease and heart failure can have a debilitating impact on a patient’s life. These diseases can significantly reduce a patient’s quality of life, endurance, and ability to return to work. Tasks they could easily do prior to their cardiac event are now more challenging.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a key step for recovery after a cardiac event or heart surgery.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program that promotes heart health through education, exercise, and changes to your lifestyle. Your cardiac rehabilitation team at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center will work with you to develop a plan to lower your risk for future heart or vascular problems via the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab (ICR) program. With more than 100 peer-reviewed, published scientific studies backing its efficacy, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center is the first facility in New England to offer the Pritikin Program.
If you've been diagnosed with or recently experienced any of the following, and you have a physician's referral, you are eligible for cardiac rehabilitation.
- Recent myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Angioplasty or stent placement
- Coronary artery disease with angina
- Cardiomyopathy with ejection fraction ≤35%
- Heart transplant or recent LVAD implantation
- Heart valve repair or replacement surgery
- Coronary artery bypass surgery
- Peripheral vascular disease with claudication
Most insurance plans cover cardiac rehabilitation if you have a qualifying diagnosis. You can begin the program immediately following your heart event or procedure, and the program is easily adapted to be completed in 12 to 18 weeks, depending on your schedule and individual needs. The Pritikin Program is approved for reimbursement under the Intensive Cardiac Rehab (ICR) CMS benefit class. To avoid unexpected medical expenses or copays, please contact your insurance carrier before enrolling to confirm coverage and inquire about costs.
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
Dr. Uyen Lam oversees St. Elizabeth’s cardiac rehabilitation program. Dr. Lam and the cardiac rehabilitation team will work with you to develop a tailored plan to reduce your risk for heart attack, recurrent heart failure, or second cardiac surgery so you can keep living a long, happy, healthy and productive life.
Our team consists of cardiologists, registered nurses, clinical exercise physiologists and dieticians. Your cardiac rehabilitation program will consist of:
- Health Assessment and Evaluation – Your cardiologist and cardiac rehabilitation team will work together to determine your current physical abilities, your limitations and identify any other conditions that may contribute to your heart problems.
- Exercise – After you have been evaluated, your cardiac rehabilitation team will help you develop and implement a physical activity routine that will include some type of aerobic exercise at least three times a week. These activities include low to moderate impact, safe exercises such as walking, recumbent stepping, rowing and cycling.
- Lifestyle Modification – Another key component of cardiac rehabilitation is helping you to make lifestyle changes for the better, which can range from managing stress to getting conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, weight management and blood pressure under control. If you are a smoker or heavy drinker, your cardiac rehabilitation team will provide resources and assistance to help you quit as well as identify any other habits that are having a negative effect on your heart health.
- Nutrition Education – The Pritikin Program offers robust nutrition education that is tailored to patients’ tastes to facilitate lifelong incorporation. In addition to cooking lessons and heart-healthy recipes, patients will be provided with grocery shopping tips and takeaways for dining out.
- Ongoing Support – Heart health is not a battle that can be easily won. It’s a never-ending process and you don’t have to do it alone. Making positive progress is possible when you work with the cardiac rehabilitation specialists at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, but it will require time, commitment and sacrifice. With persistence and dedication, patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation should experience noticeable improvements in how they feel.
Many patients just beginning cardiac rehabilitation feel overwhelmed by the many changes they are being asked to make. It’s not easy, but there will be tangible rewards for sticking with the program. Simply waking up every morning feeling better, having more energy and being a more relaxed, healthier person will prove to be its own reward and make your lifestyle changes and sacrifices worth it.
If you have questions about cardiac rehabilitation or your doctor recommended you or a loved one begin cardiac rehabilitation, call 617-787-7901 to speak with the cardiac rehabilitation team at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center.