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Overview of Cardiac Rehabilitation: The Team

By whom is the Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) programme conducted?

Team structure

The multi-disciplinary structure of the CR team (usually comprising a physician, nurse, physiotherapist, dietician, psychologist and social worker) is relatively consistent across all countries with some differences:

Cardiologists are usually programme coordinators (Israel, Ireland, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium and France), but even rehabilitation specialists may take the lead (Estonia, Portugal and Bosnia and Herzegovina). In several countries nurses and/or physiotherapists are in charge (United Kingdom, Sweden, Malta, Malta, Greece).

In Israel, Egypt,Portugal, United Kingdom, and Greece an exercise physiologist/masters may be welcomed to the phase II team working in team with the physiotherapists. On the contrary, phase II exercise classes in Ireland, Poland, Lebanon, Spain, Malta, Italy and Belgium are only run by physiotherapists


Although Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) is strongly recommended by the 2016 European Guidelines on CVD Prevention in Clinical Practice there are few recommendations for formal education of the CR team members.

Countries like Belgium , France, Italy and United Kingdom demand specific targeted CR education for the staff but so far only Spain includes CR in the training of young doctors.


In general, the 2016 European Guidelines on CVD Prevention in Clinical Practice are applied, but several countries have specific national guidelines: Belgium , France, EstoniaIsrael, Italy and Slovenia.

British and American guidelines are less commonly used (United Kingdom, Malta, Lebanon).


Note: The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.


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This first version is derived from 28 "Country of the Month" reports from National CVD Prevention Coordinators of ESC member countries. Additional countries will be incorporated in the next version.