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Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program

Stephanie Forster, EP, CCRP with David Shawler.

The Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at Virginia Hospital Center is nationally recognized and certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).

Recent statistics show that patients who've participated in Virginia Hospital Center's Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation program are making long-term strides. The program counsels individuals recovering from heart and/or respiratory illness on how to make improvements in diet, exercise, tobacco use and other lifestyle choices. Patients are instructed on exercising safely, strengthening muscles and improving stamina in a supervised setting. Our experienced team ensures that each patient plan is based on personal risk factors and is safe.

Our patients showed improvements in cholesterol reduction and in ratings of their overall health. Cardiac respondents showed an average drop in cholesterol of 7%, and a 13% average decline in triglyceride levels, along with a 13% increase in "overall health." Pulmonary patients reported a 12% increase in "quality of life," and equal improvements in their ability to perform routine daily activities such as grocery shopping and chores. Pulmonary patients also showed a 12% increase in stamina (judged by the distance they were able to walk in a 6-minute period).

Patients recovering in our Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation program are evaluated at entry and at 3-month, 6-month and one-year intervals using a questionnaire based on a national, standardized measurement tool.

Inpatient Cardiac Rehab

Inpatient Cardiac Rehab began in November 1978. Our staff provide counseling and education for patients hospitalized with any type of heart disease.

Outpatient Cardiac Rehab

Outpatient Cardiac Rehab started March 9, 1979. The primary focus is prevention of another heart attack or further progression of plaque buildup. This is accomplished by helping individuals manage the risk factors that may have contributed to the heart disease in the first place such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and diabetes. We currently have seven RNs and one respiratory therapist who work in the department.

Risk Reduction & Rehabilitation

We believe in stopping the problem before it starts. That's why we offer free programs to help you lower your risk of heart disease. We'll help you reduce fat and cholesterol in your diet, exercise safely, and manage stress. We also offer smoking cessation classes and other programs that help you take control of your health. These programs also support recovering patients. For more than 25 years we have helped patients achieve and maintain better heart health. Our Cardiac Rehabilitation program gets results.

Our participating patients lower their total cholesterol by an average of 18%, lower their LDL ("bad") cholesterol by an average of 12%, and raise their HDL ("good") cholesterol by an average of 5%. They increase their exercise, reduce total dietary fat, and suffer less depression and anxiety.

Contact Info
  • Phone: 703.558.6271
  • Address: 1701 N. George Mason Drive, Arlington
    VA 22205 | Directions
  • Campus Map | Parking C, Zone C, Ground Floor


Patient Success Story

Heart patients like David Shawler really enjoy the Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at Virginia Hospital Center, which recently moved into new, larger space. David had his first heart attack at age 41 and quintuple bypass surgery at age 55. Now 70, he has been a regular at the program for 15 years.

For patients recovering from heart and/or respiratory illness, the program offers medically supervised exercise while wearing a monitor to check heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar, if the patient is diabetic.

Regular talks on heart education, guidelines for nutrition and managing diabetes are also part of the program.

“You start slowly to build up strength,” says David. “As you progress, you get to the point where you don’t need to wear monitors, but you are always supervised by nurses and exercise physiologists. It’s very comforting.”

Stephanie Forster, EP, CCRP, Cardiopulmonary Rehab Coordinator, says “This is such a rewarding job. We see patients gain strength, lose weight and improve their quality of life. Our goal is to give patients the confidence to exercise on their own.”

1701 N. George Mason Drive | Arlington, VA 22205-3698 | tel 703.558.5000
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