Getting Heart Healthy with Cardiac Rehab

February 14, 2020

Being active and exercising is an essential step in recovering from heart surgery and other heart complications, but it isn’t always as easy as stepping on the treadmill. This is why your doctor might recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program.

When starting your fitness journey, it is common to have questions. Where do I start? Am I pushing myself too far? Is this even helping? Rehab specialists at Mercy understand these concerns and can provide the support you need to succeed. The goal of rehab is to get you back to living your life, while reducing your risks of future heart problems.

For Elizabeth Maybin, the cardiopulmonary rehab program at Mercy St. Francis Hospital was a crucial step in her recovery. Shortly after moving to Mountain View from San Antonio, Texas, Maybin was feeling unwell and went to visit her new primary care physician at Mercy. She was referred to a cardiac specialist, and in four short weeks, she went in for open heart surgery.

“I feel as though moving to Mountain View saved my life,” Maybin said. “I had no idea about the possibility of heart failure. My doctors told me that if I hadn't gone in that day, I may not have made it.”

Following her surgery, Maybin was assigned to a supervised cardiac rehab program that utilized exercise, education and support to help her recover.


“It is a life-changing experience,” Maybin said. “I have lost about 50 pounds since my heart surgery, and I hope I can keep working to lose more. In the beginning, I went to rehab because my doctors told me to, but now I go because I enjoy it.”

The cardiac rehab program begins with an individual assessment. Throughout the first few weeks the rehab team works to understand how far along each patient is in their heart recovery. The program is then adapted to that patient’s specific needs.

 “When I first began rehab, I could bike for about five minutes,” Maybin said. “The rehab team helped me understand my limits and were monitoring my activity, so I was never over working myself. I now go in every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I bike for an hour and a half.”