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Living with - Coronary heart disease (CHD)

You can still have an active and healthy life if you had a heart attack or heart surgery.

Cardiac rehabilitation programme

Before you have heart surgery, a member of the cardiac rehabilitation team may visit you in hospital. They will talk to you about your condition and the procedure you're having.

For the first few weeks after surgery, they will check on your progress.

They will design a programme for you to help you regain your fitness and strength.

Most programmes cover:

  • exercise
  • education about how to keep your heart healthy
  • relaxation and emotional support

Having an active and healthy lifestyle after surgery helps:

  • protect your heart
  • reduce the risk of having more heart problems


If you are living with a long-term condition, you can get support through our Living Well programme to help manage your condition.

Living Well programme

Support groups

There are some heart support groups around Ireland that can offer you support.

Get support - Irish Heart Foundation

Relationships and heart disease

Having a long-term condition such as heart disease can put a strain on you, your family and your friends. It can be difficult to talk about your condition, even to people close to you. Be open about how you feel and let your family and friends know what they can do to help.

Sex and heart disease

If you have coronary heart disease (CHD) or you've had heart surgery, you may be concerned about having sex. Usually, you can resume sexual activity as soon as you feel well enough. You can ask your GP for advice about this.

Returning to work

After recovering from heart surgery, you should be able to return to work. Talk to your specialist about this. Returning to work may depend on your progress and the severity of your condition. They can also tell you what type of activities you should avoid.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 6 December 2023
Next review due: 6 December 2026