A medically supervised exercise program to help you safely recover from a cardiac event
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
Cardiac rehabilitation plays an important role in your recovery from heart disease or a cardiac event such as a heart attack or heart surgery. It also can improve your stamina if you have heart failure. We have cardiac rehabilitation facilities across the Maryland/D.C. area, so you can get expert care close to home.
MedStar Health Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Locations
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237
MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21239
MedStar Montgomery Medical Center
18101 Prince Philip Dr.
Olney, MD 20832
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
7503 Surratts Rd.
Clinton, MD 20735
MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
25500 Point Lookout Rd.
Leonardtown, MD 20650
MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
200 E. 33 rd St.
2 nd Floor Fitness Center
Baltimore, MD 21218
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness Programs
125 Michigan Ave., NE
Washington, DC 20010
The teams in our cardiac rehabilitation programs are led by exercise physiologists, who work with a medical director, dietitians, physical therapists, counselors and your cardiologist to ensure that you exercise safely without putting too much stress on your heart.
Cardiac rehab has been shown to increase a person’s chances of living longer following a heart event. Other benefits can include:
- Decreased pain and the need for medications to treat your disease
- Emotional support and decreased stress during recovery
- Improved stamina, endurance and overall strength
- Improved quality of life by making it easier to work, take part in social activities and stay independent
- Reduced risk of future heart events, hospital stays and other heart-related complications
We show you how to use equipment such as stationary bicycles, treadmills, ellipticals, seated steppers, stair climbers and resistance training machines to offer a full-body workout and safely improve your heart’s strength.
What to expect from cardiac rehabilitation
Our outpatient and inpatient cardiac rehabilitation programs are designed to help you learn heart-healthy habits and gain emotional support from other participants who have had similar experiences. We also offer weekly education sessions in a group setting to ensure you have the tools and knowledge to live a heart-healthy life. We’ll help you gain valuable insight into how your heart works and how you can help it work better.
Topics may include:
- Blood pressure and cholesterol management
- Healthy lifestyle habits
- Heart-healthy nutrition
- Heart medications
- Stress management
Outpatient cardiac rehabilitation
Your cardiac rehabilitation team will review your medical history and monitor your heart rate and electrocardiogram (ECG) readings while you complete a low-intensity exercise test. They’ll use this information to create a personalized exercise program and help you gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise to progress safely toward recovery and independent fitness activities.
We encourage you to attend the program for one hour of exercise training three times a week. The number of supervised exercise sessions depends on your individual needs and your insurance coverage, which we’ll review before you begin the program.
Inpatient cardiac rehabilitation
MedStar National Rehabilitation Network’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program provides advanced assistance to help you return to your former level of physical endurance and self-sufficiency after an acute care stay for treatment of heart disease.
Highlights of the inpatient program include:
- Education on how to prevent the progression of heart disease and manage the psychological impact on your health
- Heart function and rhythm monitoring as you move through a series of progressively more intense activities under the supervision of doctors, exercise physiologists and nurses in our cardiac gym five days a week
- Therapy sessions that focus on bathing, dressing, getting out of bed, walking and using stairs
- Weekly cardiac support group sessions
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should attend cardiac rehab?
You may benefit from cardiac rehabilitation if you have had one of the following conditions or treatments:
- Coronary stent implant
- Coronary artery bypass graft surgery
- Heart attack within the past 12 months
- Heart failure
- Heart valve repair or replacement
When should I start cardiac rehab?
Every person is different. You may start as early as a week after you leave the hospital, or you may need to wait for several weeks to give your body time to heal and recover. Scheduling and insurance processes usually allow patients to start one to two weeks after contacting a cardiac rehab program.
How long is each session, and how many should I attend?
Each session lasts between 45 and 90 minutes, depending on your fitness level and progress. It is generally recommend at you attend three sessions a week for the most health benefits. In general, cardiac rehab attendance ranges from 12 to 36 sessions. However, it will depend on a variety of factors, including your cardiologist’s recommendation, insurance, your risk factors, previous experience with exercise and severity of your heart disease.
How much does cardiac rehab cost?
Cardiac rehab is a medical program. Many insurance plans cover most or all of the cost. Copays and prior authorizations will be checked before you begin.
What do I need to begin?
Your cardiologist will write a referral, which you can take to the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute program closest to you. We have facilities across the Maryland/D.C. area. Your care team can tell you more about the program closest to you. If your cardiologist does not have their own referral form, contact the cardiac rehab program directly, and they can send the forms to your doctor.
What if I have never exercised before?
Don’t worry. The point of cardiac rehab is to introduce you to regular exercise in a safe and fun environment. Over time, you’ll be able to exercise more as you become healthier and more confident.
What if I already exercise regularly?
Cardiac rehab is different than going to the gym. Cardiac rehab programs make sure that you’re exercising at the appropriate intensity before you begin exercising on your own again.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.
Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms and chemically induced stress tests.