CARDIAC REHAB: Getting to the HEART of recovery

Cardiac rehabilitation is often the key to coming back from any cardiac event.

“Everybody benefits, but especially those who have had a major event,” said Jerry Janda, Supervisor of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at Methodist Hospitals. “Our goal is to increase functional capacity and return patients to their normal activities of daily living.”

Patient Tom Daly is living proof that cardiac rehab works.

After suffering a mild stroke and getting a pacemaker in 2014, Tom’s cardiologist recommended that he enroll in the Methodist Hospitals cardiac rehabilitation program. Now 84, Tom is on his second pacemaker, and still attends three cardiac rehab sessions each week.

After trying some commercial workout centers, Tom decided that Methodist’s cardiac rehab program provided the best fit.

“They have a diverse array of equipment available, and they have registered nurses there to monitor how my heart is reacting to the exercise,” Tom said. “And over time, you develop relationships with the staff and the other cardiac rehab patients.”

Every three months, Tom takes a copy of his 12-session transcript to his doctor to give him a snapshot of his heart health.

Cardiac Rehabilitation at Methodist Hospitals is a three-phase program of comprehensive evaluation, prescribed exercise, and lifestyle counseling. Through the genuine caring and knowledgeable guidance of the rehab staff, hundreds of patients have learned how to manage their cardiopulmonary disease.

Each rehab program is individualized and begins with Phase One, which takes place in the hospital following a cardiac episode or procedure. A baseline is established, and goals are identified during the first session.

During Phase One, patients engage in activities that include range of motion exercises and walking. There is an educational component so patients may learn about the cardiac event they had, their prescribed medications, diet, the signs and symptoms of a cardiac event, and more.

Phase Two of cardiac rehab is an outpatient program that begins two to four weeks following their cardiac event or procedure. It begins with a detailed patient evaluation and the creation of their tailored program.

“During Phase Two, patients come in to exercise two or three times a week for one to three months,” Janda explained. “Patients are continuously monitored for blood pressure, heart rate, EKG, and oxygen saturation.”

Phase Three is a long-term maintenance program. Participants like Tom can continue as long as they like, and still get their blood pressure, heart rates and rhythms checked.

According to Janda, many patients realize they will not continue to exercise on their own without accountability and structure. He pointed out that Phase Three participants often become a great resource and inspiration for the newer people to talk to, especially when they become discouraged.

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