What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?
Joining a cardiac rehabilitation program is an important step on the road to recovery following a heart attack, heart event or surgery. We are proud to offer a unique and highly effective 12-week medically-supervised exercise and health coaching program that is designed to restore your physical, mental, social and occupational well-being and put you on the road to recovery.
The TotalCardiology Rehabilitation program is one of the largest outpatient programs in Canada. Each year our program helps thousands of people make long-lasting changes that improve their heart health and reduce their risk of future heart events and hospitalizations.
Our program serves the Alberta Health Services – Calgary Zone boundaries. If you are from outside of Calgary, our office will automatically send your referral to your local centre.
People who participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program reduce their chances of future hospital re-admissions and emergency room visits, can return to their daily activities and workplace sooner, and enjoy improved quality of life. To find out
more about our program, please read our Cardiac Rehab Program Information PDF.
What to bring to your appointment
Alberta Health Card + Photo ID
If English is a second language, please bring an interpreter with you
A list of your medications - including the name of the medication, how often you take it, and the amount you take.
Patient Forms and Instructions
An exercise stress test will be scheduled for you when it is safe to do so. If you have recently had surgery, a recovery period will be necessary before we can schedule this appointment.
An exercise stress test provides a measure of your fitness and tells us how your heart works during physical activity so that a safe exercise program can be developed to fit your abilities.
Please read the instructions for how to prepare for this test prior to your appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
TotalCardiology Rehabilitation offers a variety of programs:
Cardiac Rehabilitation Program
A 12-week exercise, education and health-coaching program for those recovering from a heart event, heart surgery or living with a heart condition. Exercise sessions (one-hour in length) are held two mornings a week under the supervision of a health-coaching team including exercise physiologists and registered nurses. The exercise program involves a variety of activities that fit your abilities. These may include walking, running, biking, stretching and more – whatever you can do and are comfortable doing.
A two-part Taking Charge of Your Heart Health education series is also provided before starting the exercise portion of the rehab program.
Medically-Supervised Exercise Program
We also offer medically-supervised exercise and risk factor management to other groups of patients with chronic conditions, including those with medically-managed peripheral artery disease (non-limb threatening ischemia, ventricular assist device, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and bladder cystectomy. Exercise sessions (one-hour in length) are held two mornings per week and are supervised by clinical exercise physiologists and registered nurses who provide support and health coaching to patients during these sessions.
Risk Reduction and Screening
For those with a family history of heart disease or individuals wanting to know their cardiovascular fitness level or risk of developing heart disease, our comprehensive Heart Health Assessment provides a detailed overview of your personal risk factors and a plan to help manage and reduce your risk. There is a fee for this service.
Individuals who have experienced a recent heart event are able to take part in our rehabilitation program. This program requires a referral from your doctor or cardiologist. Our medically-supervised exercise program for groups of patients with chronic conditions also requires a referral from their specialist.
Individuals who want to determine their level of heart fitness and risk of developing heart disease can undergo a heart health assessment without a doctor referral. There is a fee for this service.
The cardiac rehabilitation program fee is a one-time cost of $500. Alberta Health Services provides funding to partially cover the costs of our program. We offer a variety of payment options for our program participants and have financial assistance available.
The program fee for cardiac rehabilitation is not currently covered by Alberta Health Care. For some patients, the program fee may be deducted through your insurance coverage or covered through an extended health benefits plan (your own or a spouse). Some medical expenses not covered by provincial health care or private insurance may qualify as tax deductible medical expenses under Canada Revenue Agency legislation.
For a list of tax eligible, tax-deductible medical expenses, visit the Canada Revenue Agency page on Claiming Eligible Medical Expenses on your Tax Returns.
Cardiac rehabilitation (or rehab for short) is a medically-supervised exercise, education and health coaching program to help people recover from heart event (such as a heart attack) or heart surgery (procedures such as stenting and angioplasty). In addition to exercise sessions, cardiac rehab programs provide ongoing healthy coaching and education on lifestyle and health behaviours to help patients manage risk factors and reduce the risk of future heart problems and hospitalizations.
A team of registered nurses and clinical exercise physiologists supervise exercise sessions and work with patients to:
- Reduce the risk of future heart problems
- Improve ability to perform daily activities
- Lessen symptoms brought on by every day activity
- Minimize risk of potential exercise-related complications
- Provide education about one’s condition and how to manage it
- Improve level of physical fitness and regain strength
The exercise program involves a variety of activities that fit your abilities. These may include walking, running, biking, stretching and more – whatever you can do and are comfortable doing.
Many people of all ages who have heart conditions can benefit from a cardiac rehabilitation program. Patients who take part in our cardiac rehabilitation program have a history of:
- Acute coronary syndrome (STEMI, NSTEMI, unstable/stable angina)
- Congenital heart disease
- Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)
- Valve surgery
- Heart failure
We have also adapted our medically-supervised exercise program to serve additional groups of patients in managing chronic conditions, including:
- Medically-managed peripheral artery disease (non-limb threatening ischemia),
- Ventricular assist device
- Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
- Bladder cystectomy
All cardiac rehabilitation participants will have an exercise stress test that is conducted while walking on a treadmill. If unable to walk on a treadmill, the patient will have a bike or arm ergometer test.
An exercise stress test provides your doctor with information about how your heart works during physical activity. The test can show whether enough blood flows to your heart when it's working hard. This helps to determine:
- Your likelihood of having coronary artery disease (CAD) or to see how serious this disease is in those who are known to have it;
- If you have any abnormal heart rhythms;
- The effectiveness of your cardiac treatment plan – including medications and procedures like angioplasty;
- A safe and effective exercise intensity to start an exercise program at.
Patients will meet with a doctor before the test to review medical history and conduct a checkup and again after the test to review the results.
It is normal to feel nervous about starting an exercise program, especially if you aren’t familiar with exercise equipment. Our team of health coaches will teach you proper exercise techniques, such as warming up and stretching, how to use various exercise equipment safely (including treadmills, elliptical trainers and stationary bikes), and the importance of target heart rate and ‘talk test’ in exercise.
Your spouse or significant other is welcome to accompany you to all your scheduled appointments and education classes. Your significant other will not be able to be with you in the treadmill lab during your exercise stress test but can be present to discuss the results of the test with you and the doctor after the test.
Our main clinic office is located on the lower level of Repsol Sport Centre at 2225 Macleod Trail South.
For maps and directions, click here.