When someone suffers cardiac arrest, their heart stops beating, and they can no longer breathe effectively.
If cardiac arrest is not treated within minutes, the person will die.
Fortunately, cardiac arrest is reversible if it is treated quickly. With immediate intervention, including CPR and defibrillation, some people who suffer cardiac arrest go on to make a full recovery.
After a cardiac arrest, it is important for the patient to receive follow-up care. This may include a stay in the hospital, as well as cardiac rehabilitation.
The road to recovery after cardiac arrest can be long, but with the right support and care, many people can make a full recovery and return home within a reasonable amount of time.
What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is a specialized program that helps people recover from cardiac arrest and return to their normal activities. It is a program of exercise and education designed to help individuals recover post-cardiac arrest and other heart-related emergencies.
According to the National Library of Medicine, cardiac rehab usually takes place in three phases:
Phase One: Clinical
Phase One begins as soon as you are well enough to start. It usually takes place in the hospital and may last for a few days or weeks.
During Phase One, patients will start to learn about their cardiac condition and how to take care of themselves. They will also begin to slowly increase your activity level.
Phase Two: Outpatient
Phase Two of cardiac rehab usually takes place in an outpatient setting, such as a cardiac rehab facility or the patient’s own home. Phase Two usually lasts for four to 12 weeks.
During this phase, the patient will continue to increase their activity level, learn more about their cardiac condition, and get educated on how to effectively care for themselves while they recover.
Phase Three: Post
Phase Three is the maintenance phase. This phase lasts for the rest of the patient’s life.
During this phase, the patient will continue to exercise on a regular basis and make lifestyle changes to keep their cardiac condition under control.
Cardiac rehab can help individuals:
- Improve their cardiac function
- Reduce their risk of cardiac arrest
- Reduce their symptoms
- Improve their quality of life
Cardiac rehab can also help the patient’s family and caregivers by teaching them how to best offer support.
If you have had a cardiac arrest, you may want to ask your doctor to explore cardiac rehab with you.
How Can I Return Home After Cardiac Arrest?
Cardiac arrest survivors often need some time to recover before they can go home. Depending on the individual’s condition, they may need to stay in the hospital for a few days or even a week.
Cardiac arrest can cause other problems, such as damage to the heart or lungs, or even the brain, so the patient may also need to have surgery to repair any affected areas. Aside from a stay at the hospital, follow-up care may also require regular checkups with a cardiologist.
In addition, it’s usually recommended that cardiac arrest survivors make certain lifestyle changes to avoid future cardiac arrests.
They will likely need to:
It’s normal to feel scared and overwhelmed after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest emergency, but it’s important to remember that there are resources to assist you in your recovery journey.
Cardiac rehabilitation, combined with healthy lifestyle adjustments, results in shorter hospital stays, allowing you to get back to your normal day-to-day much quicker.
Most importantly, you’ll be provided with an encouraging, positive outlook for the future!
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