Cardiac Rehabilitation

The Heart & Vascular Institute's Cardiac Rehabilitation Program helps you, through exercise therapy, increase physical activity while our medical professionals monitor your cardiopulmonary symptoms, irregular or abnormal heartbeats and response to medication after a heart attack, angioplasty, heart failure or heart surgery. If you have peripheral artery disease, or PAD, our exercise therapy program can even help you avoid surgery.

The Program | Eligibility | Treatment Options | Referrals & Payments | Locations | Patient Education Resources

The Program

Why is cardiac rehab so important? These programs help patients regain strength and stay healthy, with improvements in physical fitness, energy levels and heart strength. You’ll reduce the risk of further heart problems, stabilize cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and learn how to manage stress.

Here's how cardiac rehabilitation works: A team of experts works with patients to track their exercise tolerance as well as factors that reflect lifestyle, diet and exercise adherence and reduction in other cardiac risk factors.

Patients with blood flow to theirs legs restricted by narrowed or blocked arteries caused by Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD, can also benefit from an exercise program that can help reduce pain and possibly avoid minimally invasive angioplasty or stenting and traditional procedures such as bypass surgery. 

Studies have also shown cardiac rehab to be more effective in reducing death rates after a heart attack than medicine such as beta blockers or statins and also decreasing mortality after myocardial infarction and coronary revascularization. 

Ask your doctor if you’re eligible for cardiac rehabilitation at one of our acute-care locations.

Cardiac Rehab Phases

Phase I

This inpatient phase focuses on patient education and ambulation, or walking assistance, and help determining how well the patient can care for him or herself. The patient’s ability to exercise is also assessed. Ongoing patient and family education is provided regarding the importance of healthy diet and lifestyle habits.

Phase II

A 12-week outpatient program that begins about four to eight weeks after surgery or an acute event, consisting of exercise, education, stretching, relaxation, and counseling. Hour-and-a-half classes are held three times weekly, in morning or late afternoon sessions. The goals of this phase are to optimize recovery and help rebuild confidence so patients can leave feeling self-reliant, functionally independent, and emotionally secure, with a new outlook on life.

Phase III

A cardiac wellness and maintenance program designed to help patients establish and maintain a long-term healthy lifestyle built around diet, exercise, stress reduction, and medical compliance. This phase has no defined end point and patients can remain active in the program as a way of staying on the wellness track. Classes are offered daily.


One of only seven hospitals in CT to earn accreditation
aacvrpAACVPR (American Association of Cardiovascular Pulmonary Rehabilitation) is the credentialing organization that assures Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs will maintain the highest quality of care in the treatment of patients with cardiac and pulmonary diseases.

To become accredited by the AACVPR, a program must comply with the AACVPR standards for accreditation. These requirements change every three years to keep all programs current. Our Rehabilitation Program has been accredited since 2004, which distinguishes it from many others in Connecticut.


Who needs Cardiac Rehabilitation?
The Heart & Vascular Institute's Cardiac Rehabilitation Program welcomes patients who have or had:

  • Angioplasty or stent procedure
  • Bypass surgery
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Chest pain/angina
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Heart transplant
  • Heart valve surgery
  • New: Peripheral Artery Disease

Treatment Options

A Program Designed for You
Cardiac Rehabilitation provides a supervised environment to safely increase your activity/exercise levels, and maintain regular communication with your physician.

Participants attend exercise and education classes three times a week for up to 36 sessions. The exercise sessions focus on increasing physical fitness and improving work capacity through a variety of prescribed aerobic exercises, stretches, and weight training.

Each participant’s exercise program is individualized to meet his/her specific needs. We will develop a plan with you and your family that includes strategies to help make lifestyle changes and decrease risk for future events.

Nutritional and stress management counseling are also available, providing counseling and education in:

  • Dietary changes
  • Weight loss
  • Stress management

Exercise Monitoring
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Team monitors your heart rate, blood pressure and heart rhythm while you do cardiovascular exercise and resistive weight training.

Referrals & Payments

A physician’s referral is required for participation in the program. The patient’s cardiologist or vascular doctor will complete an evaluation to see if the patient qualifies for the program. Specific testing to determine entry requirements will be part of the referral process.

Insurance Coverage
Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation is covered by most insurance companies. We can help you contact your insurance company to ask about coverage before you start the Phase II Cardiac Rehabilitation program.

Education programs, free of charge, are open to participants and their families.


If you are interested in more information about any of our services, or for referrals, contact the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program closest to you:


St. Vincent’s Medical Center
2800 Main St, Level 1M
Phone: 475.210.5012
Fax: 475.210.6148
For referrals call 475.210.5012


Hartford Hospital
85 Seymour Street, Suite 607
Phone: 860.972.2133
Fax: 860.545.3352

Download a Referral Form


The Hospital of Central Connecticut Bradley Memorial
81 Meriden Ave.
Phone: 860.276.5094
Fax: 860.276.5344
For referrals, call 860.276.5094


Hartford Hospital
305 Western Boulevard
Phone: 860.633.9084
Fax: 860.633.9204

Download a Referral Form

New Britain

The Hospital of Central Connecticut
100 Grand Street
Phone: 860.224.5427
Fax: 860.224.5933
For referrals, call 860.224.5427


Hartford Hospital
11 South Road, Suite 260
Phone: 860.696.0080
Fax: 860.696.0085

Download a Referral Form


MidState Medical Center
435 Lewis Ave.
Phone: 203.694.8541
Fax: 203.694.7606

For referrals, call 203.694.8541


Backus Hospital
326 Washington Street
Phone: 860.823.6336
Fax: 860.823.6526

For referrals, call 860.823.6336


Charlotte Hungerford Hospital
540 Litchfield Street
Phone: 860.496.9512
Fax: 860.496.9959

For referrals, call 860.496.9512


Windham Hospital
112 Mansfield Avenue
Phone: 860.456.6103
Fax: 860.456.6077
For referrals, call 860.456.6103


Hartford HealthCare HealthCenter, Winsted
80 South Main Street
Phone: 860.738.5900
For referrals, call 860.496.9512

Patient Education Resources

Learn more about Peripheral Artery Disease and Cardiac Rehabilitation

People living with Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD, a condition where blood flow to legs is poor because arteries are narrow or blocked, now have one more option for reducing pain and improving quality of life: a supervised exercise program.

These programs -- which can deliver similar outcomes to surgery, including decreased leg cramping and better quality of life -- are now covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans.

Each 60-minute exercise session with the Heart & Vascular Institute's Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Hartford Hospital is conducted by registered nurses and cardiovascular exercise physiologists. Assessments, stretches and exercise evaluations with aerobic therapy help each patient progress through the 12-week program.

Participants attend 36 total sessions and may attend between three and five sessions each week.

“We’ve known since the 1990s that exercise therapy works for peripheral artery disease, but insurance didn’t cover it and Medicare didn’t cover it,” said Dr. Paul D. Thompson, chief of cardiology at the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute. “Now many patients can participate because they have it covered.”

The structure of the program offers guidance and encouragement from clinical experts, along with motivation from peers in a group environment.

“Patients benefit from counseling and education in smoking cessation, exercise regimen and optimizing the medical therapy,” said Dr. Parth S. Shah, a vascular and endovascular surgeon. “These elements of the program help improve quality of life and reduce cardiovascular risk.”

American Heart Association

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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