Respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, according to data from the General Health Directorate, are the main causes of death and dependence in Portugal. However, the report of the National Observatory of Respiratory Diseases points out that only 2% of patients, with indication for respiratory rehabilitation programs, have access to intervention.

As for patients with cardiovascular disease, according to Order No. 8597/2017, Portugal has one of the lowest rates of patients included in cardiovascular rehab programs in Europe. Only 8 % of patients with myocardial infarction participate in these programs, with the average European participation rate over 30%.

Being physiotherapy the third largest profession of health care in Europe, in Portugal there are approximately 11,000 physiotherapists, only 150-200 performed academic and postgraduate education specific in cardiovascular and respiratory physiotherapy, with skills to intervene in respiratory rehabilitation programs and Cardiovascular rehabilitation, according to data on the group of interest in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy 2017.

Given this shortage of human resources, with different skills in the area of cardiovascular and respiratory physiotherapy, the Santa Maria Higher School of Health has a postgraduate degree in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy.

This course aims to respond to the needs of physiotherapists in their professional practice, taking into account the international recommendations for the teaching of cardiorespiratory physiotherapy, such as the European Respiratory Society and the European Society of Cardiology, in order to enable the physiotherapist for intervention. Differentiated in the level of cardiovascular and respiratory physiotherapy in a hospital, community and home context.


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10 months | 360 contact hours | 60 ECTS


Fortnightly (Friday afternoon and Saturday all day).


Bachelors in Physiotherapy.


This course is taught in Portuguese.


Alexandre Silva