The use of physical therapy by physicians in caring for patients with various diseases of the heart has increased greatly in recent years.
Many claims for the supposed benefits of regular physical activities in certain cardiac patients have been made, but few of these claims have been proven by acceptable clinical studies. Conversely, exercises testing of patients have been widely studied and its value and limitations have now been defined with some precision.
The two major roles for physical therapy in cardiac patients are:
1. Exercise testing.
2. Physical training.
It is necessary before proceeding with cardiac rehabilitation that a definition of certain terms be understood as well as an outline of some cardiovascular physiological concepts.
Exercise is intended to mean dynamic muscular exercise of large muscle groups such as is used in walking, jogging, running, bicycling, and swimming, as contrasted with this type of isotonic (dynamic), the isometric (static) exercise in which muscular force is exerted but no movement occurs.
Physical therapist will be able to determine which exercise can be used to initiate the stimulation of the heart and the gradual loading, so the heart can resume his normal strength and function as soon as possible.