Ohio State’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is a customized outpatient program that guides you and your family through recovery after a heart-related event. Research has shown that cardiac rehab significantly reduces your risk of heart problems happening again. It also helps you regain your independence.

While the core of cardiac rehabilitation is exercise, the program also targets nutrition and diet, weight, management of cholesterol and triglycerides, blood pressure, diabetes and stress. The program is provided during your initial hospital stay and on an outpatient basis here in Columbus after you return home.

Your cardiac rehab team understands that it can be difficult returning to an active life after being hospitalized for and living with a chronic heart problem. We offer classes, individualized counseling and plenty of encouragement to help you on your journey. Cardiac rehabilitation is a positive environment to learn, try new health behaviors, have fun and feel better.

Conditions treated

Ohio State’s team of nationally recognized experts is dedicated to caring for people of all ages who have recently experienced:

About Our Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Ohio State offers phase I, phase II and maintenance cardiac rehabilitation programs.

Cardiac Rehab Phase I

This component of cardiac rehabilitation occurs during your hospital stay. A cardiac rehabilitation team member provides education and information to ease the transition from hospital to home.

Cardiac Rehab Phase II

Phase II begins after your hospital discharge. It includes exercise supervised and monitored by cardiac nurses and exercise physiologists, in-depth education about heart disease risk factors and counseling on lifestyle changes.

After a rehabilitation evaluation, which may include an exercise stress test, you begin a personalized exercise and education program. You may attend up to 36 sessions depending on your insurance coverage.

Cardiac Rehab Fitness Maintenance Program 

Once you have completed phase II cardiac rehabilitation, you may enter a fitness maintenance program. This is an ongoing program that helps you maintain an exercise routine and offers continued staff and peer support.

Benefits of cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation is a long-term maintenance program, and you’ll need to continue the lifestyle habits and follow the skills you learned in the program for the rest of your life. To get the most benefits from the program, make sure your exercise and lifestyle practices become lifelong habits.

The goal is that at the end of the program you’ll have the tools and lifestyle habits to lead to an improvement in your overall quality of life. Over the long term, you may: 

  • Decrease your risk of future heart problems 
  • Find ways to manage and reduce stress 
  • Gain strength 
  • Manage and maintain a healthy weight 
  • Learn heart-healthy behaviors, such as regular exercise and a heart-healthy diet 
  • Learn how to cope with heart disease 
  • Quit bad habits, such as smoking

Importance of education

Education is a key part of your rehabilitation. You and your family will learn about heart conditions, lifestyle management and prevention strategies. Educational sessions include: 

  • Cardiovascular and muscle fitness 
  • Cholesterol and blood pressure treatment 
  • Diabetes management 
  • Medications 
  • Nutrition and weight management 
  • Smoking cessation 
  • Stress management 
  • Other factors that contribute to heart disease

Eligibility and insurance

A physician referral is required to enroll in the phase II cardiac rehabilitation program. The maintenance program is open to anyone and may need physician approval.

Many medical insurance policies, including Medicare, cover phase II cardiac rehabilitation. However, there will be variation on the number of sessions allowed based on your benefits. You should consult with your health insurance carrier or company benefits administrator for an explanation of phase II coverage.

Please note that our fitness maintenance program is not recognized as a covered benefit for Medicare or private insurance carriers.

Your Ohio State Cardiac Rehab Team

Ohio State’s cardiac rehabilitation team is composed of nationally recognized experts who are dedicated to caring for people with heart problems. As part of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, the cardiac rehabilitation team has access to the latest in cardiac rehabilitation treatments, therapies, innovation and research.

Your personal case manager will guide your rehabilitative process and develop a program designed to meet your unique needs and goals. We will consider your medical history, stress test results and responses to health questionnaires to create your specific, personally achievable goals and targets.

Your multidisciplinary cardiac rehabilitation team will consist of: 

  • Physicians 
  • Nurses 
  • Exercise physiologists 
  • Dietitians 
  • Pharmacists
  • Behavioral medicine specialists

Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center

Hear from an Ohio State patient how cardiac rehab benefited her recovery from serious heart complications and gave her a new sense of health and feeling of support and community

Exercise Following a Heart Attack

Following a serious cardiac event many patients want to adopt a new, healthier approach to life. Scott Lilly, MD, an interventional cardiologist, offers this rule: focus on duration, not intensity, so you can establish a real lifestyle change you are able to stick with for the long run.

How Cardiac Rehab Can Help You Recover

Ohio State’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program guides you and your family through recovery after a heart-related event. Research has shown that cardiac rehabilitation significantly reduces your risk of heart problems happening again. It also helps you regain your independence.

Our Leaders

Our leaders


John Larry, MD

Medical Director, Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation, East Hospital

Dr. Larry is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Ohio State. Dr. Larry has published numerous abstracts and peer-reviewed journal articles. He is a member of multiple professional societies, including the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the American Society for Echocardiography. Dr. Larry was named one of America’s Best Doctors in 2009. He was also honored in Madison’s Who’s Who in Health Care Professionals in 2009. Dr. Larry’s clinical interests include prevention of cardiac disease, cardiac rehabilitation and echocardiography.


Michael Wesley Milks, MD

Medical Director, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Outpatient Care Upper Arlington

Dr. Milks is a cardiologist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at Ohio State. Dr. Milks has a wide variety of clinical and research interests, including preventive cardiology, valvular heart disease, coronary artery disease, echocardiography, and cardiovascular imaging. He has a particular focus in cardiovascular disease prevention, which includes management of lipid disorders and advanced cardiovascular risk prediction tools. Dr. Milks is board certified in echocardiography, internal medicine, and clinical lipidology.

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