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Healthwise: Cardiac Rehab

February 15, 2012

From walking on the treadmill to pedaling on the bike, Martha Jefferson Hospital says it's important for patients who have undergone heart surgery to get involved in cardiac rehab.

“We know that cardiac rehab makes a difference because independent studies shown that morbidity and mortality is reduced by as much as 25 percent for people who go through a cardiac rehab problem versus people who do it on their own," said Cathy Reece, an exercise physiologist at Martha Jefferson

Cardiac rehab is a program that offers medically supervised and heart monitored exercise, along with risk factor education. The goal is to help patients lower their chances of having more heart related problems.

“They build their stamina and their energy levels so they can continue to do daily activities at greater ease. They start to rebuild and restore their heart function,” Reece explained.

While cardiac rehab can help patients recovering from bypass or valve replacement surgery, it also has benefits for patients that haven't had those surgical procedures but do have risk factors for heart issues.

“We also offer ongoing programs for people who want to either intervene before their risk factor becomes more of a problem or a prevention program,” said Reece.

Cardiac rehab is more than just a workout routine. Health care providers say it's a lifestyle. The program is meant to give patients the tools they need to get their hearts healthy so they won't end up back in the operating room.

In addition to exercise, Martha Jefferson also encourages patients and their families to attend Heart to Heart, a support group that meets once a month. For more information, call 434-654-7009.

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