Heart healing

August 22nd, 2017

Care for heart patients at JPS Health Network takes another leap forward this month with the opening of a new Cardiac Rehabilitation unit to help patients maximize their physical potential after a heart attack or other cardiac event.

“Cardiac Rehab is about quality of life,” said David Graves, director of Rehabilitation Services at JPS. “There’s a lot that doctors can do to fix problems, repairing valves, restoring blood flow to the heart, prescribing medications. There’s also a lot that patients can do to influence the likelihood of future events, and that’s where Cardiac Rehab fits in.”

cardiac rehabCardiac rehab aims to help patients regain their physical ability and teach skills and lifestyle changes demonstrated to improve heart health. It’s been shown to significantly lower the risk of repeat heart attack and mortality rate for a variety of other cardiovascular conditions, but is vastly underutilized across the country, according to a report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“Even among patients who are appropriately and/or automatically referred for cardiac rehab, certain patients are less likely to enroll and, once enrolled, are more likely to drop out,” the journal reported in an extensive medical literature review. Fewer than 50 percent of heart attack patients show up for rehab.

JPS patients have not lacked access to cardiac rehab. JPS has had a contract with another hospital to provide it. Having it available on the main campus, in a location familiar to patients who receive other services at JPS, is expected to boost participation. Inpatients who qualify for cardiac rehab will be introduced to it while they’re still hospitalized and will have their first appointment set up before they leave.

Patients eligible for Cardiac Rehab include those who have had a heart attack in the last 12 months, angioplasty or a stent procedure, bypass surgery, heart valve surgery or congestive heart failure.

Cardiac Rehab usually lasts 12 weeks and includes exercise training and education, EKG-monitored exercise sessions two or three times a week and classes on topics such as risk factors for heart disease, nutrition and weight management, high blood pressure and how to give up smoking. A referral from a cardiologist, surgeon or primary care physician is required, and services are covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare.

The new JPS Cardiac Rehab unit is part of Rehabilitation Services, near the west entrance on the first floor of the Outpatient Building at 1500 S. Main St. It will be open for patients by the end of August.

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