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New Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Helps Patients Move Forward





When most people think of rehabilitation, they think about healing broken bones or injured joints. But did you know that rehabilitation is also crucial for healing people with serious heart problems? Earlier this year, Lutheran Rehabilitation expanded its services to include a full-service outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program to help more patients than ever before.

"The goal of cardiac rehabilitation is to improve patients' quality of life, boost their cardiovascular endurance, get them back to their level of functioning before they developed a heart problem and prevent future heart events from occurring," says Robert A. Zaloom, M.D., medical director of the May Ellen and Gerald Ritter Cardiology Center (photographed above).

A Customized Approach
Cardiac rehabilitation is designed to help patients who have experiences cardiovascular problems or who have recently undergone heart surgery. To be eligible for cardiac rehabilitation, patients must have had:
· A heart attack within 12 months
· Coronary bypass surgery within six months
· Valve replacement/repair surgery within six month
· Angioplasty or coronary stenting (surgery to open an obstructed blood vessel) within six months
· Stable angina (chest pain) or ischemia (reduced blood flow to the heart) based on a stress test
· Heart or lung transplant within 12 months

Before starting a cardiac rehabilitation program, patients receive a full medical assessment and physical therapy evolution. "We them customize patients' programs to meet their needs," says Nicole Garcia, nurse practitioner and coordinator of the cardiac rehabilitation program. "We work with patients to set goals at the beginning of the program and continuously check their progress."

Lutheran's cardiac rehabilitation includes:
· Individualized exercise programs
· Ongoing education for patients and their families about their heart disease as well as lifestyle changes to help manage their condition
· Assistance with reducing risk factors such as controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol levels
· Psychological counseling for issues such as depression, stress management and coping with a chronic disease

A cornerstone of the cardiac rehabilitation program is education for patients and their families. "The more patients learn about their medical condition, the more likely they are to adhere to lifestyle changes such as taking their medications, exercising and avoiding salty foods." Garcia says.

For more information, click here or call Lutheran Rehabilitation at 718-630-7425.

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