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Cardiac rehabilitation programs

Lynne T Braun, PhD, RN, CNP
Nanette K Wenger, MD
Robert S Rosenson, MD
Section Editor
Bernard J Gersh, MB, ChB, DPhil, FRCP, MACC
Deputy Editor
Gordon M Saperia, MD, FACC


Outpatient cardiac rehabilitation programs provide supervised exercise training in conjunction with other secondary prevention interventions. They are designed to speed recovery from acute cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction, myocardial revascularization, or hospitalization for heart failure and to improve quality of life. In addition, patients with stable coronary heart disease derive benefits. (See "Prevention of cardiovascular disease events in those with established disease or at high risk".)

This topic will discuss the organization and content of these programs. The indications for and the efficacy and safety of cardiac rehabilitation are discussed separately. (See "Cardiac rehabilitation: Indications, efficacy, and safety in patients with coronary heart disease".)


The components of cardiac rehabilitation programs are delivered by a dedicated team including a medical director, nurses, exercise specialists, nutritionists, and counselors. These programs include provision of comprehensive long-term services involving the following core components (table 1A-B) [1-4]:

Medical evaluation/baseline patient assessment

Exercise training and physical activity counseling

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 27, 2017.
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