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Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation

The Mary Washington Healthcare cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program allows you to safely exercise with a heart condition or after heart surgery under the supervision of trained professionals.

If you have had a heart attack or been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may feel uncomfortable about starting to exercise or making other lifestyle changes that your doctor recommends. You can safely improve your physical conditioning and gain confidence with doing regular exercise under the supervision of the trained professionals in the cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation program.


The professionals in cardiac rehabilitation include:

  • registered nurses
  • respiratory therapists
  • exercise physiologists

They help you establish heart-healthy habits like getting regular exercise, eating a low fat diet, reducing stress and, not smoking.

Although emergencies in the rehab setting are rare, the Cardiac Rehab Team is trained to deal with them.

Benefits of Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation:

  • Better chance of avoiding disability
  • Improved chances of returning to work
  • Decreased risk of death due to heart disease
  • Decreased risk of future heart attack
  • Fewer episodes of reduced blood flow to the heart (cardiac ischemia)
  • Improved physical functioning and strength
  • Less of a need for heart-related medications
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower levels of both “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and fats in the blood (triglycerides)
  • Relief from depression, fear and anxiety
  • Slowed development, or even reversal, of hardening of the arteries (arthrosclerosis)
  • Weight loss, as many individuals with coronary artery disease are overweight

Cardiac and Pulmonary Education Classes

Heart to Heart Support Group

Initial Evaluation


MWHC Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Cardiopulmonary Health and Fitness, a department of Mary Washington Hospital
1201-B Sam Perry Boulevard, Suite 240
(Mary Washington Hospital Campus)
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
540.741.1447 Phone
540.741.1350 Fax

MWHC Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Podcast

Nicole Hinkle-Klaus and Shari Deneke with Mary Washington Healthcare visited Town Talk with Ted Schubel to talk about the programs and work of Mary Washington Healthcare Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. They also discussed how to establish heart-healthy habits.

Patient Forms

Cardiac (Heart) Patients

Pulmonary (Lung) Patients

  • Pulmonary Education Quiz
  • CAT Assessment
  • Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)
  • Pulmonary Self-Assessment
  • Clothing: Please wear loose fitting clothing, preferably cottons or cotton blends. Shoes should be comfortable and designed for exercise with non-slip soles.
  • Medications: Notify staff of any medication changes. If you have inhalers or nitroglycerine, please bring them to exercise sessions. If you are a diabetic, bring your glucometer, snack or glucose tablets to each session.
  • No perfume or cologne allowed, no gum chewing while exercising.

Inpatient Cardiac Rehab

Inpatient rehab

Your first meeting with the Cardiac Rehab Team occurs in the cardiac stepdown unit following your surgery. They will teach you how to handle your transition from hospital to home physically and emotionally. During Phase I of your treatment, a rehab team member may help you begin a program of progressive exercises so you can regain your strength and leave the hospital ready for Phase II-early outpatient rehabilitation.

Early Outpatient Cardiac Rehab

During Phase II you follow an individualized program designed by your Cardiac Rehab Team and your doctor based on a complete, non-invasive and painless evaluation of your physical functioning. No matter what your fitness level or experience is, your Cardiac Rehab Team shows you how to follow your program at a safe, comfortable pace during three, one-hour sessions each week.

This phase will help you:

  • Rebuild muscle
  • Improve your body’s ability to use oxygen by building strength and endurance, and
  • Increase your overall physical function and confidence.

During group exercise sessions supervised by a cardiac nurse you will wear a heart monitor, and your blood pressure will be consistently monitored to assure you are doing well. Should there be any sign of a problem, medical equipment and expertise are readily available.

This phase typically lasts 6-18 weeks with a total of 36 sessions. You should also attend weekly educational sessions on topics regarding lifestyle changes to help you reduce cardiac risk factors. There are five classes:

  • Risk Factors
  • Benefits of Exercise
  • Stress Management & Being Mindful to your Mental Health
  • Nutrition
  • Medication Management

External Enhanced Counterpulsation (EECP®) Therapy

External Enhanced Counterpulsation (EECP®) Therapy

External Enhanced Counterpulsation is a safe, non-invasive outpatient treatment for ischemic heart diseases such as angina and heart failure. EECP® Therapy typically improves symptoms, exercise performance, and quality of life. Most patients sustain its benefits for more than two years.

Treatments are administered one hour a day, five days a week, for a total of 35 sessions. Patients lie comfortably on a table with large blood-pressure-like cuffs wrapped around their calves, thighs, and hips. The cuffs inflate and deflate at specific times between heartbeats, increasing blood and oxygen supply to the heart muscle, which improves its ability to pump blood throughout the body.

Man on the bed

Talk with your doctor to see if EECP® Therapy is right for you.

Cardiac Rehab Maintenance

Cardiac rehab general

To have lasting benefits from cardiac rehabilitation, you must make a lifelong commitment to exercise. The American Heart Association recommends that you join an exercise group, local gym, mall walkers program or start a walking group in your neighborhood. Our Phase III Cardiac Rehab program enables you to continue following your personal program in our medically supervised setting where you will receive support and encouragement as well as ongoing coordination of your care with your physician. It’s a great way to stick with the good exercise routines and healthy lifestyle choices you learned during Phase II.

Other tips for individuals having trouble exercising on their own include:

  • Avoid temptation to completely give up on exercising because you missed a day
  • Find ways to be more active during the day such as parking a little further away from the store
  • Make exercise a routine that is done on the same days at the same times
  • Try different types of exercise: swimming, biking walking, water aerobics and so forth
  • Pace yourself and do not push to the point of chest pains or severe shortness of breath
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