Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation is a program which involves monitored exercise therapy and education, conducted by trained clinical exercise physiologists under the direction of board-certified pediatric cardiologists. The program is eligible for insurance coverage.

The goal of the exercise therapy program is to implement and encourage a safe and effective exercise program to enhance overall cardiovascular health and quality of life, while developing healthy lifestyle routines for long-term compliance.

Who Qualifies for Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation?

Cardiology patients referred by their cardiologist, who may have one of the following diagnoses:

Benefits of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

  • Improved cardiovascular health and function
  • Decreased symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pain
  • Increased muscular strength and endurance
  • Improved weight management
  • Increased knowledge of heart-healthy behaviors
  • Improved nutrition
  • Improved knowledge of cardiac medications and compliance
  • Improved ability to complete activities of daily living
  • Decreased hospital admissions

Tiers of the Program

A patient's journey through the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program consists of three separate tiers. 

Tier I

This is an inpatient monitored exercise therapy program. This type of therapy is initiated by the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) service team when appropriate.

  • Patients engage in monitored exercise therapy sessions 3-6 times per week
  • Exercise sessions are tailored per patient and are completed in our fully monitored inpatient cardiac rehabilitation center located in the CCU

Tier II 

This is an outpatient monitored exercise therapy and lifestyle education program. Participation requires an order from your cardiologist and approval from your insurance provider.

  • Participants attend sessions 2-3 times per week, for a total of 36 sessions
  • Patients receive continuous ECG monitoring and vital sign assessments throughout exercise sessions
  • Exercise sessions are tailored per patient to meet their individual needs and goals

Tier III

Patients who participate in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Tier II continue on to a home exercise therapy program designed by one of our clinical exercise physiologists. Patients follow-up with a clinical exercise physiologist from our Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation staff on a routine basis for exercise modification and program safety.

  • Participants receive an exercise prescription for daily exercises to be performed at home
  • Participants attend sessions with a clinical exercise physiologist once per month
  • Exercise sessions are self-monitored to encourage and promote program independence and compliance
  • A clinical exercise physiologist will continue to monitor cardiovascular status and provide education and support

What Is an Exercise Physiologist?

An exercise physiologist is a clinical professional who has earned a master’s or bachelor’s degree in the field of exercise physiology. The clinical exercise physiologist works under the supervision of a physician to implement exercise programming and behavioral interventions, which have been scientifically proven to have functional and therapeutic benefits for specific patient populations.

Most clinical exercise physiologists hold professional certification from a nationally accredited professional organization, such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) or the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Make an Appointment

Call to make an appointment with one of our specialists. Appointments are available Monday-Friday.

Related Specialties

Heart Center Family Resource Guide

To help prepare families for their care with Lurie Children's Heart Center, we have compiled a list of resources about treatment and recovery. Learn how to get ready for an inpatient stay or outpatient visit, and read about our support services for patients and families.