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.


One of only six 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:


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

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

Mediterranean Living
Mediterranean Diet: How to enjoy foods with less saturated fat

The Dash Diet by Marla Heller, MS, RD
Diet guidelines for individuals with blood pressure concerns and how to select foods lower in sodium

The Plant-Based Diet
For individuals who are vegan or want options for other sources of protein

General Medical Information

United States Department of Agriculture
My Plate Nutrition Guidelines

Cardiac Rehabilitation Locations