What is Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehab is a well-established form of treatment suitable for almost all heart conditions, including heart attacks, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease and even heart failure.

The overall goal of cardiac rehab is to improve patients’ heart health and well-being to prevent recurrence of a cardiac incident. It is a multidisciplinary programme involving physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, and physicians, assisting patients with their lifelong maintenance of dietary habits, physical activity levels, and risk factor modification such as smoking cessation.

What does Cardiac Rehab Involve

The three components of Cardiac Rehab are:

  1. Supervised Exercise Sessions – A vital part of cardiac rehab that ensures patients’ safety and helps them build confidence and fitness following a cardiac event.
  2. Counselling – Provides emotional support and advice to patients and their families in coping with lifestyle changes, treatment fees, etc., on the road to recovery.
  3. Patient Education – Information on heart disease condition, treatment and risk factor modification empowers patients to care for themselves.

There are four phases of Cardiac Rehab:

Phase Setting Nature of Rehabilitation Duration
1 Hospital (Inpatient)
  • Introduction to caring for one’s heart
  • Lifestyle modification education
During hospital stay
2 Hospital (Outpatient)
  • Exercise Rehabilitation
  • Educational Talks
  • Counselling

Usually begins two weeks after discharge from hospital.

8 to 12 weeks
3 Community (at SHF Heart Wellness Centre)
  • Supervised Exercise Rehabilitation
  • Nutrition Counselling
    4 to 8 weeks
    4 Community (at SHF Heart Wellness Centre)
    • Independent Exercise Rehabilitation
    • Nutrition Counselling

    For a community-based cardiac rehab programme, patients can enrol with the Singapore Heart Foundation Heart Wellness Programme.

    Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation

    • Reduce recurrence, re-hospitalisation and death
      In Singapore, 1 in 3 heart attack patients may experience a recurrent cardiac event. Clinical research has shown that regular participation in cardiac rehab reduces cardiac-related death by over 50%, reduces re-hospitalisations (for all causes) by 25%, improves chronic disease control and well-being.
    • Reduces the main risk factors of cardiovascular disease
      i.e. High blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, stress, unhealthy diet and smoking
    • Keeps patients within a safe heart rate range
      Supervision by qualified physiotherapists ensures patients do not overstrain their hearts, thereby reducing the risk of cardiac events.
    • Improves cardiovascular health, overall body strength and quality of life
      Tasks that felt strenuous before will feel significantly easier due to improved health and well-being.

    Who will Benefit from Cardiac Rehabilitation
    Heart patient with one of the following:

    • Heart attack
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Valvular heart disease
    • Heart failure
    • Undergone angioplasty, ballooning/stenting or heart surgery

    Individual with risk factors such as:

    • Diabetes
    • Hypertension
    • Obesity
    • High blood cholesterol
    • Other conditions that can lead to a higher risk of developing heart disease

    We have the following programmes towards this cause:

    SHF-Edwards Lifesciences Foundation Heart Wellness Centre

    Heart Wellness Programme

    SHF has been providing heavily subsidised Phase 3 and Phase 4 cardiac rehabilitation since 2003.

    Learn more



    Heart support groups

    Healthy Heart Support Groups

    The Heart Support Group of the SHF Heart Wellness Centre provides peer support to heart patients and their families adjusting to life after a heart attack and motivation to maintain healthier lifestyles

    Find out more


    Heart Support FundHeart Support Fund

    Our funding networks provide assistance to empower patients who have heart conditions.

    Find out more