North Shore (09) 486 8900
Waitakere (09) 839 0000

Cardiac Rehabilitation & Education

Welcome to Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiology team artwork

The spheres represent the members of the cardiology team and how each one is an integral part of fulfilling the visions and missions of Waitemata DHB cardiology *

Waitematā DHB serves a large and diverse community, providing health care for the largest population in the country.

The cardiology departments at North Shore and Waitakere hospitals treat more than a thousand people every year who have had a heart attack/event.

The treatment you receive in hospital is the first step in lifelong management of your heart disease. When you are discharged from hospital, we want you to get well and stay well. Eating healthy and being physically active are two of many lifestyle choices that can improve your healrt health and your overall health.

The Waitematā DHB Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Specialists can help you get well and stay well by offering support, advice and education about lifestyle changes that can improve quality of life for you, which can also benefit your family/whānau.

If you have had a heart / cardiac event, being informed about cardiac rehabilitation can help lower your risk of having another heart event and help reduce the risk of you being admitted to hospital again.

View a short video about our team

* Painting by Laurice Martin (Cardiology Registered Nurse at Lakeview Cardiology, North Shore Hospital) who has kindly given permission for her art design to be reproduced here.

A heart / cardiac event is a heart attack, having treatments like a heart stent procedure or having coronary artery bypass surgery because of blocked heart arteries (coronary artery disease in medical terms).

You may have heard or read the words STEMI, Non STEMI (NSTEMI), Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) or Myocardial Infaction (MI). THese are all medical terms for a heart attack.

A heart / cardiac event also includes Takotsubo (broken heart syndrome) or spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) (when your heart artery has a tear in it).

Cardiac = heart
Rehabilitation = restoring someone to health

Cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab for short) helps you to recover after a cardiac event.

Each person who has been through one of these events has a different recovery journey. Cardiac rehab gives you and your family/whānau information, advice and support so that you can get back to your normal everyday life and activities. Healthy lifestyle changes are as important as taking your medication. We consider it 'Lifestyle Medicine'.

Studies have shown that being pro-active with cardiac rehab has a positive impact on your wellbeing and quality of life and can reduce the risk of you having another cardiac event.

Cardiac rehab can help you with:

  • understanding your heart disease
  • finding ways to make changes to your lifestyle that will help improve your heart health
  • lowering your risk of another heart event
  • support for the psychological impact of having had a heart event and living with heart disease
  • getting your confidence back to return to your normal life activities


To find out more about heart attacks or coronary artery disease visit the NZ Heart Foundation website.

To find out more about lifestyle changes to help improve your heart health, visit the Lifestyle Changes section.

Being informed about cardiac rehab can help your heart recover and help you regain control of your health.

Cardiac rehab focuses mainly on recovery of heart events caused by blocked heart arteries (coronary artery disease in medical terms).

The Cardiac Rehab Nurse Specialists will help you identify your risk factors that have contributed to your coronary artery disease. These risk factors increase your chance of having another heart event. There are many risk factors for developing heart disease. Each person is different and has individual risk factors, but here are some examples of risk factors:

  • If you smoke (any kind of smoking)
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Being overweight
  • If you have diabetes
  • Stress


These are all things you can do something about to reduce your risk of another heart event and help protect your heart for the future. The Cardiac Rehab Nurse Specialists will give you the information and support to make lifestyle changes to enable you to do this. 

Your risk of getting coronary artery disease also depends on other factors, such as your age, family history, sex and ethnicity. You can’t do anything about these, however by making healthy lifestyle changes to control other risk factors can benefit your heart health.

After a heart event it is normal to feel anxious or worried. Your family may also be worried about you. Talking to someone can help you feel less anxiety. The Cardiac Rehab Nurse Specialists can offer you and your family reassurance and support if you need someone to talk to. Have a read of the 'Coping After a Heart Attack' section.

It is important, that if you continue to feel anxious or have a low mood that you talk to your GP who can refer you for additional counselling services.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Education Forum

Cardiac RehabAt North Shore and Waitakere hospitals we provide cardiac rehab education forums that are held about 4-6 weeks after your discharge from hospital. Not everyone who has had a heart attack / event will be invited to attend a forum. 

Please note, due to COVID restrictions we have not been able to hold face to face education sessions. 

We are now delivering the education forums via Zoom video platform. The process of being invited to attend these is the same as if you were to attend a face to face session. Please refer to the 'Do I need a referral to book a class' section below.

We are also working on the ability to upload video recordings of the sessions so that these an be viewed at any time

The forums are structured as a one-off two hour education session. 

The forums are mainly aimed at people with coronary artery disease who have had a heart attack, a heart stent procedure or heart bypass surgery. However, anyone who has had heart valve surgery or who has Takotsubo (broken heart syndrome) or spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) (a tear in the heart artery) is eligible to attend as well. We encourage you to bring a family member or support person with you.

The aim of the forum is to give you information, support and confidence to help you make healthy lifestyle choices. This can help you reduce your risk of another heart event and improve your quality of life. 

You will meet other people who have been through th esame event as you and this can be helpful for you.

The education forums are presented by the Cardiac Rehab Nurse Specialists who have advanced nursing knowledge and experience in the contents discussed at the education session.The forums are informal and you are welcome to ask questions.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, there will be time at the end of the session if you wish to talk to the Cardiac Rehab Nurse Specialists.

The education session covers the following topics:

  • Understanding coronary artery disease
  • Understanding your heart medications
  • Education about heart healthy eating
  • Information about Stress – how it affects your heart and some ideas to help you manage stress
  • Education about the benefits of exercise for heart health

The Cardiac Rehab Nurse Specialists present facilitate the session. The Cardiac Rehab Nurse Specialists have advanced nursing knowledge and experience in the contents discussed at the education session.

The invitation to attend a class forum will be automatically generated by the booking and scheduling computer system. If you are eligible to attend, you will receive a letter via email or post with a date for you to attend. You may get a text reminder a few days before your class forum date.

Please do not attend a class forum if you are feeling unwell. Please note that due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 that the class may be cancelled at short notice. You will be contacted if this happens.

If you have been invited to attend a Cardic Rehab Education Forum and have any questions about your attendance, please contact the Cardiac Rehab Nurses Specialists:

Ph:     486 1491 ext. 43167
Mob: 021 719 733 (NSH)
             021 199 2136 (NSH)
             021 196 0745 (WTK)

Yes, there is no age limit to attend the classes and we encourage you to attend.

The classes are free to attend.

There is a parking fee at a discounted rate of $5 for the whole session. A parking warden will visit the class to take payment (EFTPOS only).

Yes, we strongly encourage you to bring a friend or family member who will be supporting you with your recovery and healthy living. They might benefit from the information as well.

Don’t worry if you attend on your own; you may find other people on their own as well.

Yes, you should still attend the classes if you are able to. It can be difficult to change your lifestyle habits if you do not feel supported by your family. You may find it helpful to explain to them that you are going to the classes to learn how to lower your risk of another heart event, and how to stay healthy for yourself as well as for your family.

Your family members are welcome to call the Cardiac Rehab Nurse Specialists if they have any questions about the education forum.

No, there is no difference. Both hospital sites have the same sessions.

Yes, you can. The information is aimed at people who have had heart attacks or blockages in their heart arteries. However, a lot of information is about healthy lifestyle and healthy living, which will benefit anyone with other heart problems such as those who have had heart valve surgery.

What Our Patients Say

I have been to the talks after my bypass and returned several more times througout the year - JimThe session helped me understand my medication better - FalaI found the classes very worthwhile and a really positive experience that I am now using to promote to others - TrentThe length of the sessions was just right. They were cheery and well presented - PauloCredit to all the speakers - MoanaI am most grateful for the heart recovery talks - Mike

My husband understands his heart attack much more now - TinaThank you for the classes. I have come on my own but made new acquintances - Anne

 If you would like to give feedback about the cardiac rehab heart education classes please submit a feedback form.

Contact Us

For bookings, concerns or questions please contact our Cardiac Rehab Nurses:
Ph:       486 1491 ext. 43167
Mob:   021 719 733 (NSH)
              021 199 2136 (NSH)
              021 196 0745 (WTK)

Cardiac Rehab Nurses

Elaine Crighton, Patricia Woodard, Jo Hewlett - Cardiology Nurse Specialists


Find out more about the cardiac rehabilitation team here or view a short video.



The following websites have regularly updated information regarding heart disease (coronary artery disease) and cardiac rehabilitation: