Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at Helen Hayes Hospital


Hi, My name is Michelle Caravano and
I’m the outpatient cardiac and pulmonary rehab clinical manager here at Helen
Hayes Hospital. Cardiac rehab at Helen Hayes Hospital is a two-fold program
that focuses on aerobic exercise as well as education and counseling. What we do
with exercise here is work to strengthen and condition the heart so that it works
more efficiently after a cardiac event. Your heart is a muscle and just like any
other muscle in your body in order to make it work more efficiently and be
stronger we need to stress it. We use aerobic exercise here to stress it. Just
as if you were gonna lift weights to make your arm muscles and your leg
muscles stronger, the aerobic exercise is the stressor, a good stressor, that helps
to improve the functioning of your heart. The education and counseling sessions
that are part of our program help to teach you the different habits that may
be unhealthy that affected your heart, and how to change them into healthier
habits. You can benefit from cardiac rehab if you’ve had heart surgery,
including a bypass or valve replacement, heart angioplasty or a stent placed, if
you’ve had a heart attack, a heart transplant, or if you have heart failure,
including if you’ve had an LVAD or a left ventricular assist device place.
Cardiac rehab helps you to decrease your symptoms like chest pain and shortness
of breath. It can help you feel better faster. Help you get stronger, reduce your
stress, and it reduces the risks of future heart problems and related
hospital admissions. Recent scientific studies have shown that people who
complete a cardiac rehab program can increase their life expectancy by up to
5 years. Your cardiac rehab team may be made up of many health care providers.
Some of these providers include doctors, exercise specialists, nurses, dietitians,
physical therapists, psychologists and occupational therapists. Only you can
make the lifestyle changes necessary for a healthier life, but your cardiac rehab
team can make these changes easier. They can help you learn about your heart
condition, learn what you can do to help your heart, follow your treatment
plan, move safely through your exercise program, build confidence in what you
can do, know the right questions to ask, and know if you have any new problems.
Cardiac rehab also teaches you about your risk factors and helps you to try
to modify some of these risk factors. Risk factors that we work on in cardiac
rehab include cholesterol control, quitting smoking, diabetes control, eating
healthier, stress management, high blood pressure control, and working on losing
weight. Other benefits of cardiac rehabilitation include living longer, and
lessening your chances for another heart attack, controlling heart disease
symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath, stopping or reversing damage
to your blood vessels in your heart. lessening the physical and emotional
effects of heart disease, improving your stamina strength, getting you back to
your usual activities including your work ,your hobbies, and regular exercise
as well as improving overall your confidence in your well-being. The program
here at Helen Hayes Hospital is a 12-week program. Our classes run on
Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays and there are a variety of class times to choose
from. Each class is an hour long session except for on Wednesdays, the educational
component is added onto the exercise component. We also offer individual
counseling sessions with the nutritionist and a psychologist if
needed. Each class is run by a cardiac rehab nurse who monitors your heart
rhythm and your heart rate as well as an exercise specialist such as an exercise
physiologist or a physical therapist, who works with you to help figure out what
intensity or speed, incline, resistance you need to exercise at to get into
what’s called your target heart rate zone.

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