Cardiac rehab is beneficial for all SCAD patients as it will help them gain confidence in their bodies and recognise their abilities and limits. 



Linn was 35 when she had her SCAD, but cardiac rehab was a blessing for her

You should be contacted by the Cardiac Rehabilitation team giving you the opportunity to join sessions that will help you return to fitness. SCAD experts and Beat SCAD recommend that all SCAD patients take part in cardiac rehab, so if you aren't invited to take part, do contact your GP or cardiologist and ask them to refer you.

As SCAD patients are in general much younger and fitter than many patients taking part in rehab who have had plaque-related heart attacks, you may feel a bit out of place. However, we suggest you talk to the cardiac rehab team and, if you feel comfortable doing so, about SCAD, so they have a bit more knowledge and don’t assume you’ve had a ‘traditional’ heart attack. 

Although SCAD is not caused by lifestyle choices, it’s still beneficial to remind ourselves about improvements we can make to our lifestyle. For more about cardiac rehab, this information from the British Heart Foundation is helpful. Have a look at the BHF Cardiac Rehab Hub for information about doing rehab and exercise at home.

SCAD specialist Dr Abi Al-Hussaini and Cardiac Rehab Lead in Leicestershire Nikki Gardiner answer questions about SCAD and exercise in this video.

Cardiac rehab and exercise

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has created an online cardiac rehab programme, Activate Your Heart, which is available to NHS Trusts.

Click on the sections below to find out more about

Medications and SCAD, Checking for Healing, Chest Pain after SCAD and Exercise after SCAD.






Some patients are told by their doctors to keep their heart rate within certain parameters. This can vary person to person based on their pre/post-SCAD fitness and the impact of their SCAD on their heart. Trying to use monitors to maintain heart rate at a certain level can be quite stressful, especially as monitors are not always accurate.

Many cardiac rehab nurses teach their patients to use the Borg scale (a way of rating perceived exertion) instead.

The normal advice is to warm up carefully, then maintain a Borg Scale exertion level of 4-5 for 20 minutes and then warm down carefully.