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Dr. Paul  Oh - University Health Network. Toronto, ON, CA

Dr. Paul Oh Dr. Paul  Oh

Cardiac Rehab | University Health Network

Toronto, ON, CANADA

A leading expert on the role of exercise in rehabilitation





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How do you get patients to start exercising? Dr. Paul Oh Healing the heart at home




Dr. Paul Oh is Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program and a Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. A leading expert on the role of exercise in rehabilitation, he has studied exercise interventions in a variety of patient populations. Current research focuses on how exercise affects cardiovascular health and on ways of optimizing exercise interventions. Dr. Oh has received numerous awards for teaching and research and is the author of many peer-reviewed papers.

Dr. Oh is an advocate of the power of exercise as medicine. He sees the benefits of it every day through his work at Toronto Rehab’s Cardiac Rumsey Centre. “Simply put, exercise is as powerful a therapy as anything we can offer,” he says. The statistics are strong: participation in cardiac rehabilitation programs, which emphasize exercise, can lower chances of dying from a future cardiac event by about 50 per cent.

In his research, Dr. Oh focuses on identifying ways to make cardiac rehab even more effective for people who are recovering from various forms of heart disease and/or surgery. He has found that the right volume and intensity of exercise are important to maximize gains in function, minimize risk factors and ultimately change cardiovascular health. “We know exercise promotes heart health,” he says. “Now we are refining what we do by looking at the effect of exercise on cardiovascular health and risk factors. We are also studying ways of optimizing interventions – different doses, different intensities and different ways of delivering the exercise.”

Core components of Toronto Rehab’s year-long outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program, which is the largest of its kind in North America, include aerobic exercise, resistance training, and education. “People with heart disease can become fitter and function better than they have in years,” says Dr. Oh.

Dr. Oh is also working to extend the successful model of cardiac rehabilitation to other at-risk populations. One major focus has been people with diabetes. Adults with diabetes are at a high risk of cardiovascular disease.

“We found that in people with diabetes, structured exercise improved fitness levels, blood sugar control and cholesterol values, while body weight and body fat went down,” he says. “Now we’re looking at optimal modes of delivery, and exploring other physiologic effects of exercise.”

Industry Expertise (5)

Health and Wellness


Health Care - Services

Health Care - Providers

Health Care - Facilities

Areas of Expertise (9)

Clinical Pharmacology

Clinical Epidemiology

Cardiovascular Disease

Healthcare Economics


Heart Disease


Exercise as Medicine

Chronic Disease Prevention

Education (1)

University of Toronto: MD, Medicine 1988

Affiliations (1)

  • Sunnybrook Hospital, Department of Medicine : Staff Physician

Media Appearances (4)

Getting active in middle age is possible – and important

The Globe and Mail  print


Breaking out of a sedentary lifestyle is critical to good health. “This can be an even more challenging feat for those of us in our middle years (anywhere from age 40 to 60), who can be pretty set in our ways,” says Dr. Paul Oh, medical director and GoodLife chair of the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program at the University Health Network. Dr. Oh adds that the importance of getting active in your middle years cannot be understated, for both preventive and rehabilitative purposes.

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Toronto Rehab and Partners Aim to Prevent Chronic Disease

UHN  online


Toronto Rehab is leading a multi-province partnership to examine how Canadians can prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Dr. Paul Oh, Medical Director, Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program, and three other rehab partners from Quebec, Nova Scotia and B.C. have received $2.4 million in funding from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and Health Canada to launch ACCELERATION – an activity, smoking cessation, healthy eating, alcohol intervention and motivation program aimed at chronic disease prevention...

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Study finds that participation in cardiac rehab programs can result in huge gains for recovery in stroke patients

Heart & Stroke Foundation  online


Stroke patients who participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program for six months make rapid gains in how far and fast they can walk, the use of weakened limbs and their ability to sit and stand, according to a study presented today at the Canadian Stroke Congress. On average, participants saw a 21-per-cent improvement in the strength and range of motion of weakened limbs; a 19-per-cent improvement in walking speed; and a 16-per-cent improvement in the distance they could walk...

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Prescribing Exercise

CBC  online


More doctors are including exercise as part of treatment. The CBC's Kelly Crowe reports...

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Event Appearances (2)

UHN's Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation

CACPR Annual Meeting and Symposium  Vancouver, BC.


Translating Experience and Expertise from Rehab to Prevention - a Pan-Canadian Initiative

CACPR Annual Meeting and Symposium  Vancouver, BC.


Articles (5)

Effects of cardiac rehabilitation referral strategies on referral and enrollment rates Nature Reviews Cardiology


Despite recommendations in clinical practice guidelines, evidence suggests that utilization of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) following indicated cardiac events is low. Referral strategies, such as automatic referral, have been advocated to improve CR utilization. In ...

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Relationship between cardiac rehabilitation and survival after acute cardiac hospitalization within a universal health care system European Journal of Preventive Cardiology


The magnitude and mechanisms of survival benefit associated with cardiac rehabilitation services among real-world populations within a universal health care system remain unclear. Methods This retrospective matched cohort study compared the long-term ...

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The economic impact of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Canadian hospitals Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology


To determine the costs associated with the management of hospitalized patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and to estimate the economic burden associated with MRSA in Canadian hospitals. DESIGN. Patient-specific ...

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Efficacy and safety of neuroleptics in behavioral disorders associated with dementia. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry


Neuroleptics are commonly used to treat behavioral disorders associated with dementia. However, their safety and efficacy have not been well established in these patients. METHOD: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled (either placebo or active ...

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Prevalence of white coat effect in treated hypertensive patients in the community American Journal of Hypertension


Patients receiving drug therapy for hypertension in the tertiary care setting frequently exhibit higher office readings compared to ambulatory blood pressure values (white coat effect). In this study, the prevalence of a white coat effect was determined in an ...

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