Phase II of cardiac rehabilitation

Phase II of cardiac rehabilitation is part of the outpatient program following a heart attack, heart surgery, or other major heart problem. Phase II includes supervised exercise and a variety of measurements and assessments.

Your goals for phase II of cardiac rehab are to:

  • Have more aerobic capacity.
  • Get stronger.
  • Learn how to monitor your own heart rate and rate your activity level.
  • Learn stretching and strength exercises.

During phase II, you will exercise regularly, usually in a hospital rehab facility. While you exercise, a health professional monitors your heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and symptoms.

  • You will most likely exercise (walking, stationary bike riding, arm exercises) 3 to 5 times a week for 15 to 60 minutes each time, based on your condition. Your heart rate will be checked to be sure it does not get too high. As you progress, you will learn to check your own heart rate and rhythm.
  • Your heart rhythm may be checked continuously using telemetry while you exercise, or your heart may be monitored at regular intervals. Some programs can take heart rhythm readings over the telephone. Because cost is a factor, health professionals will order monitoring of your heart rhythm only if it is medically needed.
  • You may have a follow-up exercise stress electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) during this phase to see how your heart is tolerating exercise.
  • During this phase you will work with doctors, nurses, dietitians, and physical therapists who will help you make lifestyle changes.
  • Some people who are at low risk for problems caused by exercise may enter phase II right after they leave the hospital, skipping the home program phase.

Last Updated: October 8, 2008

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