Cardiac Rehabilitation: “Physical Therapy for the Heart”

Cardiologist Alan Ghaly, DO
Dr. Ghaly

Being diagnosed with a heart problem – whether it’s picked up before or after an event such as a heart attack – can be a life-changer. Beyond the immediate physical health impact, a patient’s view of themselves and their life going forward often undergoes a seismic shift that many find overwhelming: new medications, new diet, new lifestyle requirements.

It doesn’t have to mean new limits. And most patients who find themselves planning these next steps have an entire team at their disposal to guide them to new, healthful routines.

Deborah cardiologist Alan Ghaly, DO, urges his patients to take advantage of cardiac rehabilitation, a supervised support program that prepares patients who’ve been diagnosed or have undergone a cardiac procedure or intervention to physically, mentally, and emotionally return to work, activities, and a normal life. He likes to call it “physical therapy for the heart.”

Cardiac rehabilitation is a program geared to individuals recovering from a heart attack, heart surgery or other forms of heart disease. It is designed to improve cardiovascular health and prevent future heart issues through exercise training, education for heart-healthy living and counseling to reduce stress. Deborah Heart and Lung Center offers a medically supervised cardiac rehabilitation program dedicated to helping people reclaim their heart health.

“This is a team approach, focused on many different aspects of the patient,” Dr. Ghaly explains, “tailored to their fitness level, if they have any issues physically, to get them back to a functional capacity before their event, or hopefully even better.”

During cardiac rehab, team members – including doctors, nurses, therapists and nutritionists, exercise and mental health specialists – work together to develop an individualized program of education and instruction to meet each patient’s needs. They also offer support and encouragement, helping patients achieve their health goals without the worry of overdoing it.

In addition to individualized exercise programs for strength, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance, participants are educated about their heart disease and the lifestyle changes to help prevent its progression. Counseling can be provided for common emotional responses to a cardiac event such as depression and anxiety.

KYW’s Rasa Kaye talks with Dr. Ghaly about the too-often overlooked benefits of cardiac rehabilitation programs.

To schedule an appointment, visit or call 609-831-4456.