British Heart Foundation
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Cardio Rehab class

Can I just ask what happens at a cardio rehab class, please? I live in Spain and I don't speak much Spanish. I am pretty sure they don't have rehab classes here. The hospital has been excellent here but they do things slightly differently. I am hoping to find out more about my condition and what was done on my last admission about 3 weeks ago as I am still not 100% sure. I have a follow-up appointment in a few days time and will have an interpreter with me. I feel quite confused and a bit lonely at times but my health is so much more improved.

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HI Mirador19,

I'm so sorry you have been left with feelings of uncertainty since your hospital admission,but am glad to hear you are feeling better now.Please feel free to email our helpline nurses (hearthelpline@bhf.org.uk) if you would like some specific advice on your condition,although hopefully your follow up appointment will give you some clarity. Feel free to use this platform for additional support from people who know how you feel too!

Cardiac rehab is generally a programme of exercise and education that is offered to people who have had a cardiac event such as a heart attack,heart surgery or been diagnosed with other heart conditions such as heart failure.

Its aim is to enable people to regain confidence,which is often knocked at this time and also gives an opportunity to exercise in a safe environment, with people who have gone through similar experiences, helping them to build on their strength and confidence.

I hope that has helped.

Take care,

Philippa

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Thank you Phiippa,I will know more after my follow up but feel certain I will be in touch to talk to people who have been in a similar position. I think I had the 2 stents that were put in last November re fitted and a 3rd one put it but not sure, these are the questions I will ask but was just told I can excercise 3 hours a week but am only just feeling up to doing about 20 minutes a day. Thank Zhou again for your help.

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Hi Philippa. Is cardiac rehab offered to patients with heart failure? I have heart failure (diagnosed six years ago) and have always been told that cardiac rehab is not an option for me, I think GP said it was only those who'd suffered a heart attack who could be referred? This frustrates me as I'm also told how important exercise is in managing my condition. I try to keep active on my own, but would love more structured support.

I joined the gym recently and (following some very bad advice from a gym employee) was left feeling very ill and much less confident about how much exercise I could/should be doing. My council-run gym in Glasgow offers a service similar to cardiac rehab for anyone with any health issue, mental or physical, that might affect their confidence to begin/resume exercise. All you need is a referral from your GP. When my GP tried to refer me, she discovered they won't take referrals for people with an ICD! Argh!

I'm still going to the gym, but taking it much easier and feeling alternately like I'm not doing enough to make a difference and that I'm doing more than my heart can handle. The only advice I've ever received is to stay active, exercise to a point where you're still able to speak, and do less if what you've done makes you feel unwell. I would love to know I was doing the best I could for myself, but haven't found this type of support to be available. I'd be really interested to hear any information you have, thanks :)

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Hi Laura - cardiac rehab is offered to some people with heart failure, but perhaps between centres the criteria is different. You can look up your nearest cardiac rehab centre here: cardiac-rehabilitation.net/ if there are contact details it might be worth getting in touch to get more information.

Hope this helps, Chris

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Thanks, Chris :)

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Hi Laura I have never been offered re hab either, I had never even heard of it until I joined the forum, and even then, mabe wrongly I just assumed it was for heart attack patients and not heart failure, no one has ever mentioned diet or exercise! Since diagnosis x

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They didn't mention it so much to me for the first year or two, I imagined letting me get used to to new baby, new diagnosis, new medication. To be fair, it's probably me who brings it up more than them and I am overweight, doesn't look like you are from your profile picture! :) I know from experience that I feel better when I weigh less/do more, but I always spiral back into a bag of crisps and a big chunk of cheese when my energy levels and mood are low. When I see the cardiologist, they always praise me if I've lost weight but never tell me off if I've gained. I want a telling off! 😂 Seriously, though, I feel like I would have more determination to live healthily if they outright told me to. But all this said, I'm just home from a long walk and a gym session, so am doing OK on my own at the moment.

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Hi I am terrible at exercise, at least you are making a great effort with the gym, when I was at work I spent my lunch break walking up the biggest hill I could, douglas St, Glasgow, the thought now makes me shudder! I could do with someone giving me a kick to do something or even just hiding my car keys lol x

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I think that's what a fitbit is good for, my car definitely stays at home more! Glasgow's hills offer great training potential (ha!) but also make it hard to walk anywhere if you're not feeling your best. Some fitness fanatics actually sprint up and down my very steep street. I struggle to walk it! 😂

Interestingly, I just got a letter asking me to see my GP regarding "non-urgent cardiology advice" from the Royal Infirmary. I can only imagine it's regarding my exercise queries? Appointment is not for a few weeks yet but I'll be sure to share my findings! :)

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Sounds interesting, mabe they can help with the gym programme, before I let you go, I met Dr gardener re the icd, I forgot my question list, typical, this has not been a good week! He seems to want to do it sooner rather than later, I was hoping early next year! Because of a waiting list, as I am hopefully going to Spain for new year, it's booked, but the way he spoke he is thinking about before I go and that it should be ok, a bit worried now, the other thing he mentioned was a Cardiomems HF system, another implant, I was just wondering if you new anything about it, he has told me to think about it and gave me stuff to read, he seems very nice xx

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No, I've never heard of the Cardiomems thing. Will do some googling. I get the impression that once they've decided you should have an ICD that they do like to move fairly quickly. It makes sense, I guess - if you are seen as being at risk of sudden cardiac death then it could just as easily happen next week as next month/next year/next decade/never, so the sooner the better. But on the flip side, the chances are that you probably wouldn't need to be defibrillated in the next few months, since you haven't needed it up to this point. I suppose you just have to listen to their advice, ask your questions and make a decision. There's no reason why the implant should put a dampener on your holiday, provided there was a bit of recovery time in between. Good luck and let me know what you decide x

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I know it's a good insurance policy and I will have to get and he did seem quite confident about my hols, as long as it's not next week I am off to tenerife for my birthday 🎂, I will keep you posted, let me know what you think of the other one when you get time to look, it's some kind of clinical study, but sounds like it might be a good idea xx

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Have messaged you re Cardiomems, as lots to say. Maybe do a separate post on here about it? Bound to be someone who knows something... X

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Hi Laura,

It is a real bone of contention unfortunately- there just aren't enough services around for heart failure patients,especially those with devices! I don't know if you are under the care of a heart failure specialist nurse/cardiologist who may be able to refer you themselves? They may know of some structured programmes although they may not be particularly local to you.

It is all about safety, so it is such a shame you had the advice from the gym employee, as you really deserve to be monitored by exercise advisors who have undertaken specialist training and to know specifically what to do in the event of someone becoming unwell.

it is really important that you continue to do regular exercise,even if it's just a brisk walk. Absolutely right about pacing yourself and being able to speak... That is the mantra of cardiac nurses countrywide whatever the condition! I will have a look around to see what there is,but it sounds like you've done lots of research already!

Hopefully between all of us on here, we can help!

Take care,

Philippa

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Thank you, Philippa. My heart failure nurse and cardiologist both said there's no rehab provision for me, though I haven't asked them specifically for a few years, maybe something has changed. I do ask my cardiologist about exercise in general pretty much every time I see him and just get the good but general guidance. I like statistics, goals and parameters! 😂

Definitely understand that resources are stretched thin and I receive so much fantastic care and support in every area really, but supported exercise (or lack of it) has been one of my bugbears throughout. I would feel much more confident in the gym if I had someone there who knew a bit more about my condition/device but I have at least found someone there now who takes the time to listen to my concerns and puts more thought into what he suggests I do. It's up to me now to stay motivated and keep going, which I'm determined to do, would just be a bit easier to stay motivated if I had more confidence that I was doing the optimum for my heart.

Thanks again :)

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My cardiac rehab at BRI Bristol, seem to cater for everyone no matter what their heart issues are.

So maybe it has changed now, like you said yours was a while ago.

The thing is, it seems to be for a limited time, a few weeks after your incident or procedure. I doubt you'd be able to join now as it is so long since your procedure.

Goid luck with it all though.

P.s,

Glad you ditched that idiot at the gym. Obviously not as good or exspireanced as he thinks 😆

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Hi Laura, I realise this thread is eight months old now but I just stumbled across it. Your situation regarding your exercise regime has probably changed now hopefully for the better but I'll share my experience of rehab with you anyway. Like you I have heart failure i.e. non- ischemic cardiomyopathy LVSD and had an ICD fitted at the Jubilee. I am halfway through my rehab at the Victoria and I have found it to be of great benefit for a number of reasons. It's great to share experiences with others in the same or similar situation and although most of my 'teammates' have had heart attacks and had stents or bypasses that I have not needed there are others who are diagnosed with HF and have devices. Some appear to have had their heart episodes some time ago, not all are recent events. There are people of all ages, sizes, shapes and backgrounds all with a common aim...to get as fit and well as possible. The greatest benefit from my point of view is providing motivation and expert guidance while being observed and monitored closely by the physiotherapists and cardiac nurse in charge. But it's much more than just exercise, we have great talks on heart-healthy diet, heart conditions and medication and psychological effects of heart problems. The course lasts for six weeks normally, two sessions a week for about one hour followed by an optional ten minutes relaxation/mindfulness session which is really nice. I would really recommend this period of support and education and if you think you would benefit then pester your HF nurse, GP, consultant, anybody who'll listen. Try not to take 'no' for an answer, if you want it, go for it! Tell them that you know for a fact that this resource is for people with HF. None of the sessions I attend at the Vicky seem overly busy so I don't think lack of resource is a particular issue. Regards Alex.

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Thank you, Alex. Glad to hear the rehab is proving positive for you. I'm still struggling with exercise but I think the issue is me/motivation so I'm not sure rehab is the answer. What I really need is a personal trainer, or anyone willing to kick my arse on a regular basis 😂 Can you let me know how you get on with exercise once your rehab block is over, whether you think the rehab has helped longer term? Thanks again! :)

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Yesbif you can get to some kind of cardiac rehab organised in Spain, then I would go if I were you.

Like Phillppa BHS said, the teams at the rehab are amazing at building up your confidence.

Simply because they help you understand what your condition is. Show you how much physical exercise you can actually do.

Help with diet etc.

Basically you come away from there feeling safe and confident. I would say after experiencing heart issues, we all need a little confidence to give us back our independence.

Best wishes are sent across the miles, Jo 😆

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I think you are right Jo confidence is the thing I lack the most at the moment.

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I don’t know if this is common, but we have follow on exercise classes, done by the same trainers that are fully trained in Cardiac problems and do the exercise part of the rehab. I’ve been going for years, together with all sorts of people with other health conditions and not or just aged. It’s a v mixed group, you are monitored v well and it pushes you just enough. Not sure all areas have this. I found it marvellous after I’d done the rehab programme and wondered ‘what next’.

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That sounds fantastic, wr haven't got that in Bristol as far as I know.

However they do have lists of some gyms where there is some coaches trained in exercises for people with heart and lung disease.

Unfortunately for me they are too far away and money is tight at the moment.

I hope they have a system like that in Spain 😊

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Hi Mirador, I live in Spain too and am pretty fluent, I don't know whether there's a way to do it but I would happily look at your notes, you should get an "informe" of any hospital consultation and if not your health centre will give you a copy. Also if you had questions you wanted to ask I could help you. I have cancer and it's daunting enough without the added pressures of an unfamiliar health system, a different language and absence of family. On the bright side my treatment experiences have been excellent, and very very quick. Best wishes, if it would help you please ask me!

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Thank you so much for your reply Raggarty, it is daunting but as you say the medical system is very good I have absolutely no problem with it at all. I have a translator coming with me next week and I have started my list already. I will let you know how I get on and I am in the process of getting my notes translated, I will wait for the latest one. I am very envious of you being fluent I have tried but it such a struggle to learn eanough to get me by. Once again thank you for your kind offer and so sorry to hear that you have Cancer but so pleased they are looking after you well here.

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No problem, I wish you good luck at your next appointment, depending where you live I have found the attitude of some of the older doctors a bit intimidating. Highly skilled and professional, very up to date, but it reminds me of how in the UK many years ago doctors were seen as superior beings!! It's a good idea to take someone with you, I am sure it will be fine. My biggest challenge is that I live a long way from hospital and get exhausted with the travelling to oncology, cardiology, surgery, physio and shortly to add radiotherapy to the list which is in a different city. Nonetheless I do believe I've had great treatment including access to one drug which is not routinely funded by the NHS. WE WILL GET THERE!

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Look after yourself and keep in touch, this is a great way to chat about things with people going through similar things and it always helps to talk. I will be in touch again sometime next week.

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I had a mitral valve repair July 2016. I was offered rehab for six weeks at six weeks post op. It was brilliant and I was and then offered a GP referral gym class at my local leisure centre twice a week. I still go once a week and really benefit from it. The instructor also takes our blood pressure and heart rate so I can keep a check on them too. After the gym session we all sit and have a chat over a cuppa. I thoroughly recommend them if you get the opportunity.

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Hi His61

I'm not sure if what I have had is worthy of Cardio Rehab but it sounds ideal. I'm finding being on this site is helping me already, I am beginning to understand what has happened to me a bit more and just reading other people's experiences helps a lot. Thank you for your reply.

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