Cardiac Rehabilitation

Policlinico San Donato



  • In-patient cardiac rehabilitation programs
  • Out-patient cardiac rehabilitation programs
  • Comprehensive long-term programs on secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases
  • Chronic Heart Failure follow-up management


  • 772 patients
  • 16380 days of in-hospital care in Cardiac Rehab Unit
  • 21.2 mean length of stay (days)
  • 39.9% extra-regional or foreign patients

Cardiac Rehabilitation is a comprehensive customized inpatient or outpatient program including the medical evaluation of clinical condition after an acute cardiac event, optimization of the treatment, management of the risk of disease progression/instability, functional evaluation, risk stratification, exercise training, emotional support and education about specific cardiac conditions and lifestyle changes.

The goals of Cardiac Rehabilitation include the definition of an individualized plan aimed to regain strength, easing the healing process, preventing the risk of worsening, reducing the risk of future heart problems, and improving the health and quality of life.

The impact of a Cardiac Rehabilitation program on reduction of the risk of death from heart disease, of re-hospitalization and on improvement of quality-of-life is well established. For this reason, the European Society of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend Cardiac Rehab in most of post-acute and chronic cardiac conditions.

The benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation are well established also in older and frail cardiac patient.

The in-hospital intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation programs are carried out by a multidisciplinary team including cardiologists, skilled nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, dieticians and educators. Fast and efficient interactions with cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons, invasive cardiologists, arrhythmologist, infectiologists, neurologists, nephrologists, pneumologists, and endocrinologists provide the best management of all comorbidities and potential complications.

The supervised exercise training programs are customized taking into accounts of clinical and functional conditions of the patient, and of his needs and preferences; exercise sessions are carried out in a dedicated gym with computerized monitoring and ergometric devices by skilled cardiac physiotherapists trained for the management of all potential emergency during training sessions.

Patients receive educational interventions dealing and promoting healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating a heart-healthy diet, exercise regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking.

Individual or small group counselling sessions are also provided on managing various conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia.



The Cardiac Rehabilitation programs provided are open, according to the present guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology, to anyone with cardiovascular disease and anyone who is at very high risk for coronary heart disease.

Individualized programs are available for those who have had several conditions or treatments including:

  • Coronary by-pass surgery
  • Surgical heart valve repair or replacement
  • Heart surgery in grown up congenital heart patients
  • Thoracic aorta surgery
  • Post-acute cardiac event such as acute coronary syndrome, and myocardial infarction
  • Post coronary angioplasty and stents
  • Post transcatheter aortic valve replacement and other structural heart procedures
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Decompensation of chronic heart failure