Rehabilitation after a heart attack

According to official statistics, about 40% of adult deaths are caused by myocardial infarction. This happens not only because the patient was not provided with medical care in time, but also because of non-compliance with medical prescriptions during the rehabilitation period.

Rehabilitation after myocardial infarction is aimed at eliminating the consequences of the disease and reducing the risk of relapse. The recovery process is quite long, and the patient himself must be under the constant supervision of a doctor and loved ones who will help overcome all difficulties. Why the recovery period is so important, how long it will take to recover, the first steps and stages - about this in the article.

How long does rehabilitation after a heart attack take?

With the development of myocardial infarction, necrosis of the heart muscles occurs as a result of an acute violation of the death of a person. With timely assistance, the chances of life are favorable, but only if the patient can change his usual way of life, accept his illness on a psychological level and deal with its consequences. Rehabilitation after a heart attack is essential to improve the functioning of the heart muscle, circulatory system, as well as all other organs and systems.

Depending on the severity of the infarction, the location and size of the lesion of the heart muscle, the recovery period is divided into three main stages:

  1. Stationary (cardiorehabilitation). It is 1-3 weeks after a heart attack. It starts from the first day of admission to the hospital and ends at the moment the patient is discharged home. It includes constant medical monitoring of the patient's vital signs, taking medications, primary physical exercises.
  2. Post-stationary - from 6 months to 1 year. At this stage, the patient adapts to a new way of life. Recovery can take place both at home and in specialized centers, sanatoriums, a person is constantly under the supervision of rehabilitation doctors. When choosing rehabilitation at home, the patient will need constant care, the implementation of all medical prescriptions and recommendations that must not be violated.
  3. support stage. It is carried out at home, lasts throughout life. Includes diet, proper rest, moderate exercise, and avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol.

An important stage of recovery is considered to be working with a rehabilitation doctor and a psychotherapist who will help to cope with physical and psychological difficulties. The rehabilitation period is directly related to the severity of a heart attack, but in any case, the sooner treatment is started, the faster a person can return to life after a heart attack.

Recovery period principles

Rehabilitation of patients with myocardial infarction is an important set of measures to improve the condition, eliminate possible complications after an attack. The main directions of this period are aimed at organizing proper nutrition, sleep and rest. It is very important that the patient himself be interested in his recovery, otherwise no doctor's advice will be effective. That is why, after suffering a heart attack, the patient requires a consultation with a psychotherapist, as well as the support of relatives and friends.

Recovery after a heart attack must include:       

  • Gradual physical activity.
  • Daily blood pressure monitoring.
  • Compliance with dietary nutrition.
  • Exclusion of possible stress and overwork of the body.
  • Working with a psychologist
  • Rejection of bad habits.
  • Medical therapy.
  • The fight against excess weight.
  • Dispensary supervision.

All of the above activities should be carried out in a complex, only then can a lasting result be achieved. The nature and intensity of each period is selected by the attending physician individually for each patient.

Inpatient rehabilitation after a heart attack

After suffering a heart attack in a hospital, the patient takes the first steps towards recovery. The stages of recovery begin immediately after the relief of the attack and the provision of medical care.

Of great importance in inpatient rehabilitation is the professionalism of medical staff who monitor the patient's health. Medical monitoring of vital signs allows timely assistance to the patient in case of complications or deterioration of health.

After suffering a heart attack, interruption in the hospital takes 1 to 3 weeks. During this period, the minimum capabilities of a person in terms of physical skills are restored, a special nutrition program is prescribed, the doctor gives recommendations for further recovery.

In the first days after the attack, the patient is shown bed rest. With the improvement of the dynamics, a number of restorative procedures are carried out.

Rehabilitation after a heart attack in a hospital consists of:

  • A day after the attack, the patient is allowed to sit on the edge of the bed for 8-10 minutes.
  • Every day, the sitting time increases by 2 to 5 minutes.
  • On the 4th day, you can slowly go to the toilet, walk around the ward.
  • After 7 - 8 days, they begin to do special gymnastics, you can sit on the bed for an unlimited amount of time.
  • After that, you can try to slowly go down, and climb the stairs. It is recommended to walk no more than 500 meters per day.

The second important step is nutrition. Patients are assigned treatment table No. 10, which allows you to strengthen and reduce the load on the myocardium, increase diuresis, and improve blood circulation. This diet limits the intake of salt, spicy and fatty foods, while the diet remains rich in nutrients and nutrients.

Another mandatory direction of the rehabilitation period is psychological assistance, which allows you to improve the patient's mood, perception of the current situation. The help of a psychologist plays an important role, significantly increases the survival rate of people who have had a myocardial infarction.

Taking medications is considered a prerequisite for the recovery period. The principle of action of drugs is aimed at eliminating thrombosis of the coronary arteries, improving the functioning of the heart muscle. Basically, doctors prescribe anticoagulants, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, which are administered intravenously or intramuscularly.

A patient in a hospital setting is prescribed various procedures, diagnostic measures, which are the basis for the correct tactics of further treatment.

Stages of home recovery

After discharge from the hospital, a person who has had a myocardial infarction periodically visits a cardiologist, measures his pulse and blood pressure daily, and takes the necessary tests that will help control the patient's condition.

The control examination by a doctor includes the following studies:

  • blood tests;
  • ECG.

The results of the examination allow the doctor to adjust the intake of drugs, give recommendations for rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation after a myocardial infarction at home consists of following all the recommendations of a doctor and a rehabilitation therapist. While at home, a person must adhere to the following rules:

  • follow a special diet;
  • exercise daily;
  • take prescribed medications and do not skip them;
  • enough time to rest and sleep;
  • control blood pressure;
  • exclude all factors that can harm health;
  • take walks.

Adhering to all medical prescriptions during the rehabilitation period, you can get the following effect:

  • to minimize all possible complications;
  • adapt the cardiovascular system to the new state of the myocardium;
  • increase endurance to physical exertion and stress;
  • control body weight;
  • improve overall well-being.

Rehabilitation after a heart attack at home consists of a complex of therapeutic and preventive measures that improve the patient's quality of life.

Taking medications

After discharge from the hospital, the doctor prescribes a number of drugs of different pharmacological groups. Basically, the mechanism of action of such drugs is aimed at lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood, preventing thrombosis, and normalizing blood pressure. The list of drugs, drug doses are determined individually for each patient.

Medication will play an important role in preventing relapse. In practice, doctors most often prescribe the following medications:

  • Aspirin, Ticlid - reduce blood viscosity.
  • Beta-blockers, nitrates, inhibitors - from arrhythmias, heart rhythm disturbances, hypertension.
  • Fibrates, statins - for the prevention of atherosclerosis.
  • Solcoseryl, Actovegin - to improve metabolic processes.
  • Riboxin, vitamin E - antioxidants.

You can take medications in courses or on an ongoing basis. In addition to their appointment, the doctor may prescribe the intake of vitamin complexes that will help strengthen the work of the heart muscle.

Mental rehabilitation

In the first days and weeks after an attack, much attention is paid to the mental state of health. It is important for the patient to realize and accept his illness, learn to live with it in a new way and do everything to eliminate the possible consequences of the disease. Very often, relatives of patients complain of increased aggression of patients or isolation. In such cases, one cannot do without the help of a psychologist and loved ones.

Working with a psychologist will help to accept and understand the current situation, to understand that a heart attack is not a sentence, and if all medical prescriptions are followed, recovery will occur quickly enough and a person will be able to return to normal life. The main task of psychotherapy is the normalization of the mental balance of the patient, the elimination of phobias and sleep problems. Sessions of psychotherapy begin in the hospital, and continue on an outpatient basis. In addition to working with a specialist, the patient needs the support of loved ones who can provide him with care and proper care.


The most important stage of the rehabilitation period is therapeutic nutrition, which must be followed not only after an attack, but throughout life. With pathologies of the cardiovascular system, including myocardial infarction, diet No. 10 is prescribed, which will help reduce the load on the heart, eliminate the formation of cholesterol in the vessels, and improve the general condition. Treatment table No. 10 consists of various and healthy food products, from which you can cook delicious and varied dishes.

Diet for myocardial infarction should exclude the use of the following foods:

  • fatty meats;
  • white bread and rich pastries;
  • boiled or fried eggs;
  • canned food, pickles, marinades;
  • coffee, strong tea;
  • any alcohol;
  • chocolate, cakes.

Salt must be excluded from the diet. The allowable daily dose of salt should not exceed 5 g, it is also recommended to drink plenty of fluids - up to 1.5 liters. per day, fractional food, portions are not large.

In order to recover faster, to eliminate the risk of a second attack, a sufficient amount of fiber, potassium, semi-saturated acids, vitamins and minerals should be present in the patient's diet.

The diet should include:

  • non-acidic vegetables and fruits;
  • vegetable oils;
  • vegetable and lean soups;
  • lean meats, fish;
  • various cereals;
  • rosehip broth, chamomile, dried fruit compote;
  • fermented milk and dairy products of low % fat content.

All products should be served boiled, boiled, stewed or baked. You need to eat up to 6 times a day. It is not recommended to eat 2 hours before bedtime.

Exercise therapy for a heart attack

Rehabilitation of patients with myocardial infarction necessarily includes physiotherapy exercises. The intensity of training depends on the general condition of the patient.

Before starting physical exercises, you need to follow some rules:

  1. Exercises are carried out only with a stable and normal condition of the patient.
  2. You need to start the exercises with a minimum load.
  3. If shortness of breath or pain in the heart appears, you need to stop training.
  4. The duration of the lessons is from 5 to 30 minutes.
  5. The load should be increased gradually.
  6. Perform any exercises and movements without sudden movements.

The training plan is developed individually by a rehabilitation doctor. Having mastered the complex of exercises, the patient continues to perform them at home. Benefits in the post-infarction state will bring Nordic walking, cardio exercises, swimming in the pool, aerobic exercise.

A few months after a heart attack, with good prognosis, cycling, yoga and other sports that do not require excessive physical activity are allowed.

Fight bad habits

After a heart attack, the patient must give up all bad habits - smoking, drinking alcohol. It is these factors that often cause a heart attack, and if a person does not exclude them from his life, there is a high risk of developing a second attack, which, unfortunately, often ends in death.

The patient must understand and be aware of all the harm of smoking. Nicotine causes spasm and sclerosis of the coronary vessels, promotes the formation of atherosclerosis, which provokes oxygen starvation of the heart muscle. It is these pathological changes in the vessels that become the trigger for the development of a stroke or heart attack.

The issue with alcohol is not as categorical as with smoking, but abuse is also life-threatening. The rehabilitation period completely excludes the use of any alcoholic beverages. But after a while, with good health, men are allowed to drink 30 ml of alcohol per day, women 20 ml.

Life after a heart attack

A heart attack is a serious pathological condition that can affect not only the heart and blood vessels, but also other internal organs and systems. In order for recovery after a heart attack to go quickly, the patient must radically change his lifestyle, accept his illness and learn to live with it.

In order for the rehabilitation to be successful, you must adhere to the following rules:

  • Measure pulse and blood pressure daily.
  • Periodically visit a doctor, undergo the necessary studies.
  • Take your prescribed medications regularly.
  • Stick to a diet and avoid errors in nutrition.
  • Quit smoking and alcohol completely.
  • Maintain physical activity.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and heavy physical labor.
  • Eliminate all kinds of stress and nervous strain.

Following simple rules, life after a heart attack will return to normal, but it is still important to understand that even with good health, rehabilitation should continue throughout life. Only then can we expect positive forecasts and reduce the risk of relapse.

Video: Basic principles of rehabilitation after a heart attack