What Can I Expect from Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Dr. David Shipon

David Shipon, MD, FACC

This post was written by David Shipon, MD, FACC, FACP, Preventive/Sports Cardiologist and Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Jefferson Health.

Cardiac rehabilitation helps all heart disease patients—from patients with angina to congestive heart failure to post-cardiac surgery. First, patients must understand what heart disease is in order to prevent future events—this is the key to long-lasting behavior change and compliance.

Participants learn exactly what atherosclerosis is and how plaque develops in cardiac rehab. This is accomplished this through illustrations of plaque and ultimately the formation of vulnerable plaque. A patient’s visualization of plaque formation is a vital component to empowering them to make healthy changes.

Here at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, our staff educates the participants on how lipids enter subendothelial space, and how eventually, this can lead to the formation of thin lined large lipid-core vulnerable plaque. It is this form of plaque that can lead to massive heart attacks and/or strokes.

Cardiac rehab patients begin to understand how vulnerable plaque can be stabilized through stress management, nutritional prudence, the correct exercise program and taking the appropriate medications and supplements.

We explain how a heart healthy lifestyle and medication compliance can alter a vulnerable plaque to a stable plaque. Simply put, heart healthy choices directly correlate with reducing future cardiac events. Watch our video that illustrates our disease management plaque tool called the “Rainbow of Prevention.” It’s a great model for all of us to follow. Living a heart healthy lifestyle is a journey, and we have the guidelines to meet you whether you’re resolution is to prevent a heart event, or prevent another event from happening.

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