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Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation is designed to increase one's overall quality of life. Through exercise, education and risk factor reduction, it’s possible to fight back and be successful in this battle against heart disease.

What does Cardiac Rehab Involve?

Cardiac rehab doesn't change your past, but it can help you improve your heart's future. It's a medically supervised program designed to help improve your cardiovascular health if you have experienced heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery. Think of cardiac rehab as three equally important parts:

  • Exercise counseling and training: Exercise gets your heart pumping and your entire cardiovascular system working. You'll learn how to get your body moving in ways that promote heart health.
  • Education for heart-healthy living: Managing your risk factors, choosing good nutrition, quitting smoking—education about heart-healthy living is a key element of cardiac rehab.
  • Counseling to reduce stress: Stress hurts your heart. This part of rehab helps you identify and tackle everyday sources of stress.


What does Pulmonary Rehabilitation Involve?

Pulmonary rehabilitation may help you breathe more easily and improve your quality of life if you have certain lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or pulmonary fibrosis. It can also improve daily life for people who have health problems that limit lung function. Your doctor may also recommend pulmonary rehabilitation before or after surgery for a lung transplant. Pulmonary rehabilitation can help you gain strength, reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression, and make it easier to manage routine activities, work, and outings or social activities that you enjoy.

When you first start pulmonary rehabilitation, you will attend an orientation where your team of health care providers will want to learn more about your health. Your team will go over your medical history and current treatments. They may check on your mental health and ask about your diet. Then they will work together to create a plan that is right for you. It may include:


  • Nutritional counseling. Being either overweight or underweight can affect your breathing. A nutritious eating plan can help you work towards a healthy weight.
  • Education about your disease and how to manage it. This includes learning how to avoid situations that make your symptoms worse, how to avoid infections, and how/when to take your medicines.
  • Techniques you can use to save your energy. Your team may teach you easier ways to do daily tasks. For example, you may learn ways to avoid reaching, lifting, or bending. Those movements make it harder to breathe, since they use up energy and make you tighten your abdominal muscles. You may also learn how to better deal with stress since stress can also take up energy and affect your breathing.
  • Breathing strategies. You will learn techniques to improve your breathing. These techniques may increase your oxygen levels, decrease how often you take breaths, and keep your airways open longer.
  • Participation in Better Breather support group meetings.  


Cardiac Rehab is a Team Effort?

You don’t need to face heart disease alone. Cardiac rehab is a team effort. It’s a medically-supervised program in which you partner with your doctors, nurses, pharmacists — plus family and friends — to take charge of the choices, lifestyle and habits that affect your heart.

What’s Next?

You’re in the driver’s seat...but here’s what we suggest to get started:

  • Ask your doctor if you are eligible for cardiac or pulmonary rehab. Get a prescription for Cardiac or Pulmonary Rehab—12, 24 or 36 visits.
  • If you are eligible for cardiac or Pulmonary rehab, register for a program. Call Memorial Hospital at (661) 633-7650.
  • In consultation with your medical team, set some heart-health goals and create a cardiac rehab plan.
  • Take an active role in your care to achieve your goals.
  • Keep taking your medicines correctly.
  • Call 911 if you experience new or worsening symptoms.

Who Should Participate?

Many people of all ages who have heart conditions can benefit from a cardiac rehab program.

You may benefit if you have had a recent cardiac event or pulmonary condition (within the last 12 months): 

Is Cardiopulmonary Rehab Covered by Insurance?

Medicare and most other insurers provide reimbursement for all the recommended conditions. Recommended conditions include:

  • Heart attack (or myocardial infarction).
  • Heart condition, such as coronary artery disease (CAD), angina or heart failure (HF)*.
    • *Coverage for HF is limited to patients with a heart that has very limited ability to pump out blood (in medical terms, a ‘compromised ejection fraction’, which affects about half of the HF patient population).
  • Heart procedure or surgery, including coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), including coronary angioplasty (balloon angioplasty) and stenting or valve replacement.
  • COPD
  • Asthma
  • Emphysema
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Lung transplant

As a service to the heart and lung patients here at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, we offer a complete cardiac rehab and pulmonary rehabilitation program. Our program is divided into two phases.

Phase I- Inpatient Cardiac Rehab

Phase I is targeted to patients who are in the hospital recovering from heart attack, bypass surgery, angioplasty, stent, and other interventional procedures.  The staff provides patients and their families with cardiac education and emotional support during their hospital stay.

  • Cardiac Rehab nurses meet with the patients and their families on an individual basis to interview them, assess their needs and develop plans to meet those needs.
  • Provide information on heart disease and management of the disease. 
  • Help the patients to identify risk factors for heart disease and then help them to set goals to reduce those risks by making lifestyle changes.
  • Cardiac Rehab nurses also prepare patients for discharge by discussing exercise and discharge guidelines, activities of daily living, activity progression and the warning signs and symptoms to report to their physician

Phase II- Outpatient Cardiac Rehab (referred by physician)

Phase II is a medically supervised, telemetry monitored program offering exercise, education, and support.  It provides many benefits for overall health.  It improves cardiovascular function, increases the ability to exercise and builds self-confidence.

  • The participants attend the sessions three times a week and exercise on the equipment while wearing a heart monitor.
  • The overall physical goals are to strengthen the heart muscle, increase the heart’s flow, improve endurance and increase their physical workload capacity.  It is designed to help heart patients return to full level of physical and emotional well being.
  • The staff provides patients with continued education, life-style modification, monitored activity progression and emotional support during their recovery phase.
  • The social support of the group exercise program provides an atmosphere for people to share their concerns and experiences.
  • Home exercise programs are given upon completion of the program and patients are encouraged to continue their exercise at home or at a gym, utilizing the knowledge learned in Cardiac rehab.

Check with your medical team and insurer to determine if cardiac rehab is covered under your plan.