Patient quote

"I've just had a visit from Specialist Nurse Karen Heslop - her visits have been and are the most beneficial thing to my health that has happened to me since I had such wonderful treatment at the Freeman Hospital from Dr Ward and her wonderful team".  Mrs DD

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Jargon buster

coronary heart disease (CHD)

When the walls of the arteries become narrowed by a gradual build up of fatty material called artheroma.

View the full jargon buster

Cardiothoracic Services (Heart and Lung)

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation can result in significant improvement in the health and quality of life of people with coronary heart disease.  Evidence suggests that people with heart problems who have changed their lifestyle not only feel better but live longer, with mortality rates being reduced by as much as 20% to 25% over three years.

Since 2000 the Department of Health has required that all heart patients should be offered a multidisciplinary programme of secondary prevention and cardiac rehabilitation, prior to leaving hospital. Together with our partners in local referring hospitals, we have been providing this type of service in Newcastle for over ten years.  We offer rehabilitation to all our patients after a heart attack, heart surgery, or angioplasty treatment.

Rehabilitation involves help with lifestyle change, through education and counseling, as well as exercise training. The programme includes:

  • learning all about heart disease
  • exercises which can help
  • and practical help on how to cope with the stresses of heart-related illness.

You can participate in rehabilitation programmes either here in the Newcastle hospitals or nearer to your home.  We believe in working closely with local cardiac rehabilitation support groups, as there is evidence to show that patients who attend such support groups recover better and carry on doing well.

 There are 5 stages in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Pathway:

Stage 1: Prior to treatment

Information for the patient is provided by the Primary Care team before treatment (may not be offered in all areas).

Stage 2 : Inpatient advice

Initial advice on lifestyle as part of hospital based treatment (e.g. smoking cessation, diet, alcohol, exercise). Referral sent to community nurses.

Stage 3 : Post discharge assessment

Primary Care based.  Comprehensive assessment by community nurses of cardiac risk, including physical, psychological and social needs for cardiac rehabilitation.

Stage 4 : Formal exercise and education programme

2 - 8 weeks post-discharge depending on the type of operation.  Structured exercise sessions and access to relevant support and advice. Can take place within hospital or community setting.

Stage 5 : Long term monitoring (including risk factor modification)

Long-term follow-up in Primary Care. Annual patient reviews, patient satisfaction survey, support groups.  Continuation of help with lifestyle changes, including referral to specialist advice as required (e.g. smoking cessation, diet).

More information

Cardiac support groupsĀ are social meetings for people who have had heart problems and their relatives and friends. Activities vary from group to group, but may include specialist speakers, talks, excursions, walks, social events and fund-raising.

You can talk to others who have had similar experiences to you. Some groups are involved in planning cardiac rehabilitation services.

Not all cardiac support groups will be proficient or able to support or help LVAD patients but most support groups will be pleased to offer whatever help they can. Find out more in the contacts section of the LVAD main page.


For more details about cardiac rehabilitation, talk to one of the rehab team. They will give you the information you need if you need to contact your local services:

  • Freeman Hospital Cardiac Rehab, Newcastle
  • tel: 0191 223 1399
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