Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is home to the first cardiac rehab program in North Carolina and one of the first in the United States. Cardiac rehab is a medically directed comprehensive exercise, education, and support program for those recovering from and living with heart disease. It is designed to help participants recover quickly, improve physical and mental functioning and reduce the risk of another cardiac event.  

How Will Cardiac Rehab Help?

Our team of clinical exercise specialists and registered nurses will show you how you can successfully manage a heart healthy lifestyle. The program is certified by the State of North Carolina and the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

The goals of cardiac rehab are to:

  • Increase your understanding about your condition and treatment
  • Help you make the right lifestyle changes to decrease your risk of future heart problems
  • Increase your ability to perform your job and your daily or recreational activities
  • Provide you and your family with the support and motivation you need to make important lifestyle changes.

Who Can Benefit from Cardiac Rehab?

Cardiac rehab programs benefit patients who have:

  • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery
  • Interventional procedures such as balloon angioplasty, atherectomy, rotoblation, or stent placement
  • Angina
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Valve repair or replacement
  • Heart transplant
  • Other heart related disorders or surgeries
  • Cardiac arrythmias

What Does the Program Include?

You will participate in medically supervised exercise sessions, educational seminars, and dietary counseling. We also offer tobacco cessation counseling, diabetes guidance, medication management, and social support.

Our exercise sessions are tailored to meet your needs and abilities. Each session is individualized to build your endurance and strength. During each exercise session we will monitor your heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs as needed.

Exercise equipment available:

  • Treadmills
  • Elliptical trainers
  • Stationary bikes
  • Arm ergometers
  • Lap walking
  • NuSteps
  • Weight machines

When Do I Get Started?

Depending on your recovery, Cardiac rehab can start as soon as 2 weeks after your cardiac procedure. Your first visit will include a review of your medical history, an evaluation of your cardiac risk factors, a discussion about exercise guidelines, and a 6 minute walk test.  We encourage you to bring a support person to the evaluation session. Also please bring your current medications and insurance card.

How Many Times a Week Will I Attend Cardiac Rehab?

Most patients attend 3 times a week for 12 weeks or 36 sessions, however we will individualize your program to meet your needs and goals. We do ask that you incorporate exercise into your routine on other days of the week.  Our staff will give you guidance on exercising outside of the program.

How Long Does Each Exercise Session Last?

Most sessions will last 1 hour. This includes 45 minutes of aerobic exercise and 15 minutes of stretching and strength exercises. One day a week we hold educational classes along with exercise.  You will be here 1 hour 30 minutes on these days. We invite your family members to attend our weekly educational classes.

What is Required to Enter the Program?

An order from your physician and authorization from your insurance company are required. The cardiac rehab staff will assist in obtaining these.

What is the Cost of the Program?

Most insurance carriers cover outpatient cardiac rehab. Financial support may be provided to qualifying participants based on financial needs and availability of funds.