Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Services

Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation helps patients improve quality of life after various cardiac or lung treatments. It helps patients improve breathing, increase muscle strength and endurance, improve the ability to cope with daily activities, learn how to use medications and oxygen appropriately, and reduce hospitalizations. It also can teach how to reduce important risk factors. Typically, the first day of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation will include questionnaires on diet and quality of life and a physical activity to develop a physician-directed treatment plan, with patient input. Treatment plans include education to help manage and reduce risk factors, a one-on-one meeting with a dietitian, and an exercise prescription. Each exercise session should be medically supervised and last about an hour. Many treatment programs are 12-weeks in length, but may be longer or shorter depending on the patient's individual needs. Cardiac conditions appropriate for this rehabilitation include myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart bypass surgery, angina, angioplasty, stents, congestive heart failure, heart transplant, and valvular surgery. Pulmonary conditions include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis/interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, lung volume reduction surgery, and lung transplantation. 


UAB Medicine Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Services are physician-directed by our experienced cardiologists and pulmonologists and offer the latest evidence-based care for managing heart and lung diseases. Our treatment regimen goes far beyond simple exercise, as you will receive friendly, personalized attention from a team of health professionals that includes registered nurses, exercise physiologists, respiratory therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, psychologists, and health educators. For patients who’ve already completed our program, we offer a maintenance plan to sustain the recovery and lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Our programs are nationally certified through the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Associations (AACVPR) and backed by UAB’s sophisticated facilities and equipment. Speak to your doctor about a referral to our program. We also offer monthly support groups for both cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation patients, as well as regular smoking cessation classes. For more information on these support groups and classes, please call (205) 975-5400.









Angina refers to chest pain, the most common symptom of coronary artery disease. It occurs when a decrease in blood flow reduces the amount of oxygen getting to the heart, which usually results from plaque buildup on the walls of the coronary arteries that carry blood to the heart. As the heart works harder to continue pumping blood, lactic acid builds up in the muscle and causes pain. Angina may be described as discomfort, heaviness in the chest, pressure, aching, or burning, and it may be mistaken for heartburn. Usually felt in the chest, angina also may cause pain in the arms, shoulders, back, neck, or jaw.


UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

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