What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?
Cardiac Rehabilitation is a three-phase program designed to guide cardiac patients through the trauma and lifestyle changes that heart disease can bring. The Cardiac Rehabilitation program is administered by a multidisciplinary team including a medical director, exercise physiologist, registered respiratory therapist, registered nurse, registered dietitian, wellness counselor and smoking cessation coach through the LiveWell Center. Diabetes education is also available through the Diabetes Care Center.
Over the course of the rehabilitation program, which includes three sessions weekly for a total of up to 36 sessions, the team educates the patient about lifestyle management and cardiovascular risk reduction. These team members are committed to assisting patients in making positive lifestyle changes which may affect the course of heart disease. Such lifestyle changes include education, regular exercise, positive dietary changes and control of other modifiable risk factors which may contribute to the disease process.
Inpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation
Inpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation begins upon admission to Forrest General for a cardiac event. Education, early low-level exercise, family support and dietary counsel - coordinated by Rehabilitation staff - gives patients a head start on taking control of their lives after a diagnosis of heart disease.
Outpatient Telemetry-Monitored Rehabilitation
This segment of the program begins soon after discharge as recommended by the patient's physician, and consists of cardiac risk factor modification over an extended period of time, allowing patients to gradually adopt healthy lifestyles under qualified medical supervision.
Patients participate in monitored progressive exercise under the direct supervision of a registered nurse and exercise specialist, including EKG monitoring of the electrical activity of the heart and oxygen saturation. A fitness evaluation, six-minute walking test and lab test as indicated by need and diagnosis, including a fasting lipid profile and blood glucose, are conducted at the beginning and end of the program. In addition to the indoor walking track, other types of exercise equipment are available to participants, including the Nustep, stationary bikes, simple weights and treadmills. This program is available at the LiveWell Center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 7 a.m. until noon.
Individual dietary counsel is provided in an ongoing effort to modify total body weight and blood lipids (cholesterol). Educational topics such as anatomy and physiology of the heart, stress reduction, effects of medication and modification of lifestyle to reflect heart-healthy living are presented during the course.
Periodic reports are forwarded to the patient's physician regarding progress. This phase of rehabilitation is covered by Medicare and many private insurance companies.
Alternative Outpatient Rehabilitation
This program is designed to meet the needs of individuals living outside the Hattiesburg area. The service, known as TeleRehab, allows individuals to participate in a telemetry-monitored cardiac rehabilitation program based at a local health care facility in their community. Voice and electrocardiogram information are transmitted via telephone to a Forrest General Cardiac Rehabilitation professional who monitors heart rate and rhythm. If you are interested in this program, please contact Forrest General's Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Department to determine availability in your area.
Who can benefit from Cardiac Rehabilitation?
Any person who has been diagnosed with one of the following conditions should be considered a candidate for Cardiac Rehabilitation:
- Recent heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Open heart surgery (coronary artery bypass graft)
- Valve replacement
- Cardiac stents
- Stable angina
- Cardiac transplant
- Previous balloon procedure (angioplasty-PTCA)
Admission to the program requires a physician referral. Most insurance companies reimburse for this program's charges. For more information, please call 601-288-3871.
What are the benefits of exercise?
Exercise is a major component of any cardiac rehabilitation program. Regular exercise can favorably impact most of the modifiable risk factors for heart disease. Some of the positive effects of exercise are:
- Improves endurance
- Helps strengthen the heart
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Increases "good" cholesterol (HDL)
- Helps control weight
- Increases sense of well-being
Could you be at risk for heart disease?
There is a higher risk of heart disease if:
- You use tobacco products
- Your blood pressure is over 140/90
- Your cholesterol exceeds 200 mg/dl
- You have diabetes
- You are overweight
- You do not exercise regularly
- You have a family history of heart disease
Exercise for a Lifetime
All patients who graduate from Forrest General's Pulmonary Rehabilitation program can continue to benefit from services offered at Forrest General's LiveWell Center, including exercise, a therapeutic pool, expert staff, and other great offerings! Contact the center at 601-288-3871 for more information on how to incorporate LiveWell into your life-long exercise plan!