Cardiac Rehabilitation

Get the right cardiac fitness to strengthen your heart

After you’ve had a valve replacement or open heart surgery, it is extremely important to build up your cardiac fitness through ongoing rehab, committed exercise and medical supervision. A team of physicians, registered nurses, physical therapists and nutritionists will work closely with you to manage many of the problems associated with cardiovascular disease.

If you are recovering from any of the following cardiovascular conditions, the cardiac rehabilitation program at Desert Care Network can help you regain strength and get back to life.

  • Heart attack
    This is a condition that occurs when a part of the heart muscles does not get enough blood. Some of the major symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort; light-headedness; pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back; or pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders and shortness of breath.
  • Heart failure
    The body depends on the heart to pump oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the body's cells. Heart failure is a condition that occurs when the heart cannot supply the cells with enough blood. People with heart failure may experience fatigue, shortness of breath and coughing. Walking, climbing the stairs or carrying groceries can become very difficult.
  • Heart valve surgery
    Each valve has a set of flaps called leaflets that allow blood to precisely flow between different chambers and out of the heart and into large arteries. Surgery is performed when these leaflets do not open as wide as they should or if they do not close tightly. To fix these problems, surgeons either perform valve repair or replacement using a man-made or biological valve made from pig, cow or human heart tissue.
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting
    Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG, pronounced as “cabbage”) is the most common type of heart surgery used to treat people who have severe coronary heart disease, a condition when plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
    During bypass surgery, the surgeon takes a healthy artery or vein from other parts of the body and grafts it to the blocked coronary artery. The grafted arteries reroute the blood around the blocked portion of the artery to supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. A patient may undergo multiple bypass grafts depending on the number of clogged arteries.
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention
    Also known as coronary angioplasty, is a nonsurgical procedure that may improve blood flow to your heart. This procedure requires cardiac catheterization, which involves inserting a catheter tube and injecting a contrast dye into your narrowed and blocked coronary arteries. This noninvasive approach may relieve symptoms of coronary heart disease and reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack.
  • Other cardiovascular conditions

What Is Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation is a physician-referred comprehensive program, which combines ECG-monitored exercise, education and emotional support to help you make healthy changes and maintain a full and active lifestyle. This positive environment of emotional and psychological support will help you gain self-confidence. Plus, our monthly nutrition class at Desert Care Network will encourage healthy eating habits to improve your quality of life.

What Is Involved in Cardiac Rehabilitation?

A cardiac rehabilitation program consists of three phases:

  • Phase I: Clinical Phase
    This phase begins soon after surgery and involves assessing the patient's physical ability and motivation for rehabilitation. The cardiac rehab team may start guiding the patient through non-strenuous exercises and range of motion drills.
  • Phase II: Outpatient Cardiac Rehab
    Outpatient cardiac rehab can begin as soon as the patient is stable and cleared by the attending physician. This rehab is divided into three subphases: information/advice, tailored training program and a relaxation program. Outpatient cardiac rehab typically lasts three to six weeks and may last up to 12 weeks.
  • Phase III: Postcardiac Rehab
    Patients in this phase are allowed more independence and self-monitoring. It centers on increasing flexibility, strengthening and aerobic conditioning.

What Are the Goals of Cardiac Rehabilitation?

The cardiac rehabilitation program at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, a part of the Desert Care Network, is a comprehensive program designed to improve the course of cardiac treatment and recovery through the following approaches:

  • Improve physical strength and endurance
  • Decrease cardiovascular symptoms such as chest pain
  • Increase understanding of heart disease
  • Minimize anxiety due to heart disease
  • Teach effective coping and stress management skills
  • Build healthier habits such as getting more physical activity, quitting smoking and eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Improve your mood
  • Motivate you to take prescribed medicines that help lower your risk for future heart problems
  • Help prevent future illness and death from heart disease
  • Provide access to educational cardiac classes such as rehabilitation videos, literature and handouts on heart disease issues with the supervision of medical professionals.

Who Is Eligible for Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Anyone who has had cardiovascular events such as heart attack, heart failure, heart valve surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting or percutaneous coronary intervention are encouraged to register for a cardiac rehab program.

Does the Cardiac Rehab Program at Desert Care Network Accept Insurance?

While some insurance companies require pre-authorization, the cardiac rehabilitation program at Desert Care Network offers Medicare coverage to people living in the Coachella Valley and nearby cities, in general. Our team works closely with patients and their primary physicians to help develop an individualized plan of care for special cardiac needs.

Getting Ready for Cardiac Rehabilitation

Before you sign up for the cardiac rehab program we offer for the Coachella Valley and nearby cities, you must get a recommendation from your treating physician to properly assess your eligibility. Once you are cleared by your doctor, you will set goals for your heart health and work together with your medical team to create a cardiac rehab plan that works best for you. If you experience new or worsening symptoms during the course of the program, immediately call 911.

Heart Quiz

How healthy is your heart?

Find a Cardiologist

Fill out a contact form and we’ll call you to refer a doctor.