Cardiac Rehab for Veterans $0.00

Cardiac Rehab for Veterans

By: Sean Miller |
Cardiac Rehab for Veterans

Cardiac rehab is the vital next step for most people who have survived a heart attack, have a chronic cardiac condition, or have recently had a heart procedure. The rehab includes exercising under medical supervision, education on healthy lifestyles, and planning diets and exercise programs for the future.

Why should Vets participate in cardiac rehab? Cardiac rehabilitation lowers the likelihood of another cardiac event, reduces death rates, eases symptoms like fatigue and chest pain, and increases your overall fitness.

Despite how helpful these steps are, less than 20 percent of eligible patients participate in this rehabilitation.2 Here is a step-by-step look at how the cardiac rehabilitation process works to ensure that our Veterans are taking advantage of this life-changing and life-saving program.


Early in the recovery phase, the Veteran’s doctors, nurses, and an acute care physical therapist should begin the processes of regaining mobility. They will assess the Veteran’s current abilities and the effects of the cardiovascular system. They will assign and monitor exercises while considering risks that could lead to another cardiac event. Proper mobility aids will be given. And education about the condition and plans for discharge should be given to the Veteran and his/her family.3


After discharge, the Veteran should begin rehabilitation at an outpatient facility. Depending on the patient, this can last somewhere between three to six weeks. In addition to strength and cardio exercising under observation, this phase is used to teach the Veteran skills for the future. This includes proper exercise form and procedures, monitoring heart rate on your own, and controlling exertion levels. As this phase ends, the physical therapist should be preparing the Veteran for continuing the program independently.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy

The next step in cardiac rehab includes independent and group exercises that are overseen by a physical therapist. At this point the Veteran should be monitoring his/her heart rate, understanding symptomatic responses to exercise, and rating perceived exertion. The physical therapist is there to help increase tolerance and to watch for any type of setbacks. The PT should also be devising a home exercise program for when the Veteran is done with this phase.3

Independent Conditioning

The final, and never ending, step of cardiac rehab is continuous exercise, including cardio and strength training. Using the skills and recommendations from the earlier steps, the Veteran should continue to exercise and increase tolerance. Although this step is independent, the physical therapist should always be available for any questions and advice.

Although often skipped, cardiac rehab is a critical program to anyone recovery from heart complications. Promoting mobility can be difficult without regimented, monitored workouts and a structured home exercise program. Cardiac rehab is a safe and proven way for a Veteran to regain ability and to minimize the changes of another cardiac event.3


  1. Cardiac Rehabilitation. (2016, November 25). Retrieved February 19, 2020, from
  2. Mirkin, M. (2017, May 11). New app will target Veterans in cardiac rehab. Retrieved February 19, 2020, from
  3. Sears, B. (2019, August 17). 4 Stages of Cardiac Rehab to Return to Your Life After a Cardiac Event. Retrieved February 19, 2020, from

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