Cardiopulmonary Physiotherapy

School of Allied Health Sciences

Cardiopulmonary physiotherapy, also known as cardiorespiratory physiotherapy, is a specialized area of physical therapy that focuses on the assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of individuals with cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. This branch of physiotherapy aims to optimize cardiorespiratory function, improve exercise tolerance, and enhance the overall quality of life for patients with a wide range of cardiac and pulmonary disorders. Here's a brief overview:


Cardiopulmonary physiotherapy, also known as cardiovascular and pulmonary physiotherapy, focuses on the assessment, rehabilitation, and management of individuals with cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. The objectives of cardiopulmonary physiotherapy encompass a comprehensive approach aimed at improving cardiorespiratory function, enhancing physical fitness, promoting self-management, and optimizing overall quality of life for patients with cardiac and pulmonary disorders. These objectives include:

  • Assessment: Conduct thorough assessments of cardiovascular and pulmonary function through clinical evaluations, physiological measurements, exercise testing, and other diagnostic procedures to identify impairments, functional limitations, and participation restrictions.
  • Rehabilitation: Develop individualized rehabilitation programs tailored to the specific needs and goals of each patient, which may include exercise training, breathing exercises, airway clearance techniques, relaxation techniques, and energy conservation strategies aimed at improving cardiovascular fitness, pulmonary function, and functional capacity.
  • Exercise Prescription: Prescribe appropriate exercise regimens based on the patient's clinical status, exercise tolerance, and goals, incorporating principles of aerobic conditioning, resistance training, flexibility exercises, and functional activities to optimize cardiovascular and pulmonary health, muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility.
  • Respiratory Care: Provide respiratory care interventions to optimize airway clearance, ventilation, and gas exchange, including techniques such as chest physiotherapy, postural drainage, percussion, vibration, incentive spirometry, positive expiratory pressure devices, and non-invasive ventilation modalities.
  • Oxygen Therapy: Manage oxygen therapy for patients with hypoxemia or respiratory failure, including the provision of supplemental oxygen, oxygen titration, and monitoring of oxygen saturation levels to maintain adequate tissue oxygenation and respiratory stability.
  • Education and Self-Management: Educate patients and their families about their cardiac and pulmonary conditions, treatment options, medication management, lifestyle modifications, symptom recognition, and self-management strategies to empower individuals to take an active role in their care and make informed decisions.
  • Risk Factor Modification: Address modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases such as smoking cessation, weight management, dietary modifications, stress reduction, and medication adherence to reduce the incidence, progression, and complications of cardiopulmonary disorders.
  • Psychosocial Support: Provide psychosocial support, counseling, and emotional guidance to patients and their families to help them cope with the physical, emotional, and social challenges associated with living with cardiac and pulmonary conditions, promoting resilience, adjustment, and well-being.
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Facilitate participation in comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation programs aimed at improving symptom control, exercise tolerance, dyspnea management, and health-related quality of life for individuals with chronic respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, interstitial lung disease, and pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Collaborate with cardiologists, pulmonologists, nurses, respiratory therapists, dietitians, psychologists, social workers, and other healthcare professionals to deliver integrated, patient-centered care that addresses the complex medical, functional, and psychosocial needs of individuals with cardiopulmonary conditions, promoting holistic health and well-being.

Scope of Practice

Cardiopulmonary physiotherapists work with patients of all ages who have various cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Post-operative cardiac or thoracic surgery
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Interstitial lung diseases
  • Neuromuscular respiratory conditions