Cardiac Rehabilitation

Repairing Your Heart

People recovering from heart-related problems can regain their strength, improve their mental well being and reduce their risk of future heart problems with cardiac rehabilitation.

Participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program increases your chances of surviving three years after a heart attack by more than 50 percent, according to a 2004 study published by the Mayo Clinic in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Yet the study also found that only about half of eligible patients participate in such a program. Women and the elderly are even less likely to participate.

Good candidates for cardiac rehabilitation include people who have undergone coronary artery bypass graft or who have been treated for any of the following:

Three Phases of Rehabilitation

Phase I

Begins during a patient's hospital stay. It consists of information and education about what to expect following discharge, how to measure heart rates and what exercises to do at home.

Many physicians also prescribe Phase II and III rehabilitation on an outpatient basis. Ask your doctor for a referral to MyMichigan's cardiac rehabilitation program.

Phase II

Begins about 4-8 weeks after a patient is discharged. It includes exercise sessions (three times weekly for up to 12 weeks) and education.

  • Each exercise session includes supervised, prescribed aerobic training on exercise machines specially designed to help foster a stronger cardiovascular system.
  • Continuous EKG monitoring enables a rehab team of ACLS-trained exercise physiologists and registered nurses to check the patient's heart rate and rhythm during exercise.
  • Monitoring enables staff to customize your exercise routine, to ensure you are progressing at the optimum rate: not too fast and not too slow. This maximizes your progress and recovery while still ensuring your safety.

Phase III

Is a supervised maintenance program that emphasizes self-monitoring and lifetime exercise.

  • Patients continue the individualized, regular exercise program developed in Phase II under the guidance of MyMichigan exercise physiologists and registered nurses, but without EKG monitoring.
  • Using the skills learned in Phase II, patients monitor their own heart rates and blood pressure and become comfortable with their personal exercise limits.

Safety First

Cardiac rehabilitation at MyMichigan adheres to specific safety and exercise guidelines including those established by the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Heart Association and the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Exercise physiologists or registered nurses are available at all times to offer assistance.

Costs, Insurance and Referrals

Phase I and II cardiac rehabilitation is often covered by Medicare, Medicaid or commercial insurance, when ordered by a physician. Phase III coverage varies depending on your insurance, although many participants pay for this program themselves, just as they would for a fitness club membership. If you have questions about coverage, your insurance carrier or your employer's benefits department is the best source of information.

Other payment arrangements also may be made. For more information, contact our billing and insurance department.

Ask your doctor for a referral to MyMichigan's cardiac rehabilitation program.

Medication Management

Medications play an expanding role in health care as we grow older. People are more likely to develop one or more chronic illnesses with advancing age, and appropriate medication can help seniors live longer and more active lives. However, medication use in older adults is also more likely to be associated with safety concerns. Kevin Przybylski, Pharm.D., C.A.C.P., pharmacist for MidMichigan Health discusses the importance of avoiding drug interactions and how to properly manage your medications.

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