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Cardiac surgery is any type of surgery on the heart and major vessels performed by cardiac surgeons. It is performed to prevent cardiac problems or minimise the risk of reoccurrence. Physiotherapy can help individuals prepare for or recover from cardiac surgery. At, your physiotherapist will provide a high standard of cardiac rehabilitation to increase cardiovascular fitness, stamina and confidence.

Why would I need cardiac surgery

Your doctor may suggest cardiac surgery if you have had a heart attack, have coronary heart disease, valve disease, abnormal heart rhythms, angina or heart failure.

Progressive exercises tolerance workouts supervised by an experienced physiotherapistAbove: Progressive exercises tolerance workouts supervised by an experienced physiotherapist

Types of cardiac surgery

Depending on your condition and symptoms, your doctor may suggest one of the following types of cardiac surgery - coronary bypass grafting, coronary angioplasty and stents, valve replacement, heart transplantation, the fitting of a pacemaker or Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)

Physiotherapy after cardiac surgery

Whilst you are in hospital after your surgery, you will be seen by the cardiac rehabilitation team. You will need treatment from a multi-professional team to aid the return to your previous level of function.

Once you are home, it is important that you get back to your normal daily routine as soon as possible after surgery. At, your specialist physiotherapist will assess your muscle strength, core stability, balance, fitness, ability to walk and participate in exercise. The findings of the assessment will be discussed with you and you will have the opportunity to set specific short and long-term functional goals. For example, you may wish to set a goal to climb the stairs twice a day within a week or to walk to the corner shop within three weeks. Your physiotherapist will plan treatment sessions that work towards achieving your goals. A treatment plan may include:
  • Reducing the risk of secondary complications i.e. respiratory problems
  • Returning to previous level of ability or improving transfers and mobility
  • Increasing the amount of daily physical activity
  • Fitness, stamina and exercise tolerance
  • Muscle strength, flexibility and range of movement exercises
  • Symptom management during exercise – breathlessness/angina
  • Weight management
  • Integration of exercise into daily routine
  • Return to normal activities – housework/ paid work
An exercise program will be provided for you to complete daily. This may include high level balance exercises, stretches and cardiovascular exercise such as walking, jogging or swimming. It is important that individuals with cardiac problems learn how to warm up and cool down properly after exercise in order to exercise safely. Your physiotherapist has valuable experience in cardiac rehabilitation and will provide training and education to family members or carers regarding gradually increasing your level of ability and fitness within safe limits. Your physiotherapist will also provide any equipment and mobility aids that are needed to help you walk or carry out normal activities of daily living safely. These may include walking sticks, Zimmer frames, outdoor walkers, rails, perching stools or stair-rails. Our colleagues at Manchester Occupational Therapy can provide advice regarding major adaptations to the home such as stair lift or through floor lifts.

There are significant benefits to having regular physiotherapy after cardiac surgery. They include:
  • Efficient return to previous level of mobility and function
  • Increased muscle strength and range of movement
  • Increased fitness, exercise tolerance and stamina
  • Supervision of your symptoms during exercise
  • Reduce the risk of further cardiac complications
With regular physiotherapy sessions, you will notice a visual improvement in your ability to walk and complete your normal daily routine. Your physiotherapist will help you to walk further, faster and in a more efficient walking pattern. If you feel ready to attend the gym, your physiotherapist will show you show to use a range of equipment to give you the confidence to exercise outside of physiotherapy sessions. In the long term, exercise will improve your cardiovascular fitness, assist with weight loss and minimise the risk of further cardiac complications.

Why after cardiac surgery

At, we understand that it can be frightening to return to exercise after having major cardiac surgery. Our specialist physiotherapists have valuable experience in the field of cardiac rehabilitation and can help you return to fitness safely.
  • Treatment at home, in the clinic or gym
  • Learn appropriate exercises to do at home or in the gym
  • Experienced, specialist physiotherapists
  • Goal focused treatment sessions
  • No waiting lists
  • Access to gymnasium and swimming pool
Physiotherapy is an essential part of rehabilitation after cardiac surgery and our aim is to help you become as independent as possible and lead a normal active fulfilling life. Treatment sessions can be held in your home, in the gym or in one of our clinic locations. To book an appointment or have a free telephone consultation with a physiotherapist specialising in cardiac rehabilitation please contact us now on 0330 088 7800. Or alternatively, please book an appointment online today!

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