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Phases of Cardiac Rehab

Phases of Cardiac Rehab

There are three phases to Cardiac Rehabilitation at St. Mary.  Each phase is designed to meet the individual needs of each patient and includes cardiovascular risk-factor education and counseling, emotional support and exercise activities.  Patients are referred to all three phases by their family physician or cardiologist.

Phase I begins in the hospital. Physicians place Phase I orders for patients who have had a heart attack, cardiac catherization, angioplasty or patients with congestive heart failure. A  member of the Cardiac Rehabilitation team will begin working with the patient while the patient is still hospitalized. All patients are educated on the cardiovascular risk factors and the signs/symptoms of a heart attack. As needed, patients are given home-exercise walking guidelines.  Patients with congestive heart failure are given more detailed education on daily weight checks, salt/sodium restrictions, and a review of the signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure.

Phase I OHS (Open Heart Surgery) Rehabilitation   
Phase I OHS orders are standard orders on all valve and bypass surgery patients.  All OHS patients are seen daily by the Cardiac Rehabilitation team for physical activity, education and emotional support.  Physical activities include: range of motion exercises,diaphragmatic breathing, incentive spirometry exercises, ambulation in the room and hallway, and review of stair climbing prior to discharge. Education includes the review of home activity guidelines, walking guidelines and signs and symptoms of cardiac problems.   

Phase II is the initial outpatient phase of the program.  Patients exercise in the Cardiac Rehabilitation department while the staff of nurses and exercise physiologists monitor the patient's responses to exercise.  All patients in Phase II are monitored on telemetry monitors for the duration of their individual program.  These exercise sessions include group and individual education about the cardiovascular risk factors.

Phase III is also called the maintenance program.  This is a supervised but non-monitored program that also takes place within the Cardiac Rehabilitation department.  Patients remain in this program for various lengths of time depending on physician recommendation as well as each patient's needs and goals.  When patients complete Phase III, they are given home exercise guidelines to follow.  Many patients continue exercising in the St. Mary Medical Center Wellness Center.