Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness


If you have heart disease or have experienced a cardiac event or surgery, our cardiac rehabilitation and wellness program can help you change your lifestyle, improve your diet and fitness, and provide you with the tools to stay on your new path.

We start with a medical evaluation to determine your needs and any limitations you may have. Our team uses this information to customize a program that includes exercise, nutrition, counseling and education to promote heart-healthy living.

Our intensive cardiac rehabilitation program is one of the largest in the nation and is conducting innovative research. Housed in the new Jacobs Medical Center, we offer state-of-the-art exercise and monitoring equipment, exam rooms, a teaching kitchen and multipurpose room, all designed to enhance our patients’ health and lives.        

cardiac rehabilitation patient on exercise bike with Dr. Pam TaubPatients We Serve

For both our standard and intensive tracks, we work with patients who have experienced one or more of the following:

  • Heart attack
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Current stable angina
  • Heart valve repair or replacement
  • Coronary angioplasty or coronary stenting
  • Heart or heart-lung transplant
  • Congestive heart failure
  • VAD (Ventricular Assist Device) procedure
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease 

What Are the Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation?

cardiac rehabilitation kitchen and yoga space
  • Reduce the risk of a future heart-related event
  • Decrease the frequency and severity of chest pain
  • Lower the likelihood of future surgery
  • Lessen dependence on medications
  • Lower cholesterol, control weight and improve blood pressure
  • Increase capacity for exercise
  • Improve quality of life by decreasing depression and/or anxiety

What Are the Options for Cardiac Rehabilitation Patients?

After physicians refer patients to our program, we work with each patient to determine whether the standard or intensive track is the best fit for them. This depends on their individual needs, program availability, and insurance coverage. We accept Medicare, private insurance, and direct patient payment.

Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation

The intensive cardiac rehabilitation track is integrated with Dr. Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease®, the first and only program that is scientifically proven to slow, stop and even reverse the progression of heart disease.

UC San Diego Health is the only facility in San Diego offering this program.

More about Ornish Lifestyle Medicine™.

What is Standard Cardiac Rehabilitation?trainer with cardiac rehab patient

The standard track includes:

  • Individually monitored exercise sessions using the latest equipment
  • Cardiovascular exercise using a treadmill, bike, or rowing machine, or a plan for walking or jogging
  • Monitoring improvement or changes in your symptoms by a healthcare professional
  • A program that starts slowly and builds as you get stronger
  • Strength training if suitable, as determined by your doctor
  • Ongoing monitoring of your heart rate, blood pressure and your ECG readings
  • Education on heart-healthy living, including nutrition and cooking
  • Counseling for help with stress reduction and active living

Medicare and most insurances reimburse up to 36, one-hour sessions.

Our Cardiac Rehabilitation Teamcardiac rehabilitation patient in exercise room

Cardiologist Pam Taub, MD, FACC, associate professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine, is director of the Step Family Cardiac Wellness and Rehab Center. She leads a multidisciplinary team that includes:

  • Registered nurses
  • Exercise physiologists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Behavioral health specialists
  • Fitness instructors (tai chi, yoga, etc.)
  • Program manager and staff

Improving your heart health is a team effort. You will partner with us, along with family and friends, to take charge of your life.

Contact Us

  • Call (858) 249-1308

Patients are usually referred to us by a doctor but are welcome to call us for help with this process.


UC San Diego Health – La Jolla
Step Family Cardiovascular Rehabilitation
and Wellness Center
Jacobs Medical Center, 1st Floor

Meet our Cardiac Rehab Specialists

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