Cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation is a programme of exercise and information sessions to help you get back on your feet again after a heart attack, heart surgery or procedure. 

The sessions will give you and your family the information, support and advice you need to get back to everyday life as efficiently and successfully as possible.

How does cardiac rehab help?

Cardiac rehabilitation programmes will help you to:

  • understand your condition
  • recover from your surgery, procedure or heart attack
  • make changes to your lifestyle that will help improve your heart health
  • reduce the risk of further heart problems.

Who is cardiac rehab for?

Cardiac rehabilitation is available to anyone who has had:

When do I start cardiac rehabilitation?

Person on an exercise bike

Cardiac rehabilitation starts as soon as you go into hospital for heart surgery or treatment, or after you’ve had a heart attack.

A member of the cardiac rehabilitation team will normally visit you on the ward to provide you with information about your condition, the treatment you've had and your recovery. This will help you get back to your usual activities as soon as possible.

You should also be invited to join a cardiac rehabilitation programme starting about four to eight weeks after you leave hospital.

Read our feature about cardiac rehab in Heart Matters magazine.

Where’s my nearest cardiac rehabilitation programme?

You can find out where your nearest cardiac rehabilitation programme is by visiting or by calling our Heart Helpline on 0300 330 3311.

What if I can't attend a cardiac rehabilitation programme?

You may find that your condition or circumstances make it difficult for you to travel to a cardiac rehabilitation programme centre. If so, you should talk to the cardiac rehabilitation team about other ways you can benefit from the programme - you may be able to follow a programme in your own home with support from your local cardiac rehabilitation team.

More information

For more information on cardiac rehab and the support available to you:

  • Have a look at our free cardiac rehab resources for patients.
  • Join a Heart Support Group, which can give you and your family support and the opportunity to meet and talk to people who have gone through similar experiences.
  • Our Online Community will also give you the opportunity to share your experiences, stories, tips and ideas with people like you.

For detailed information on the uptake and effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation programmes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you can download our National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation 2017 statistical report, or visit our external website for further information about the report and how it is created.

The following reports can help you understand more about the treatment of heart attacks and heart failure on the NHS:

Want to know more?

Order or download our publications: