Take heart: Cardiac Rehab is a surefire way to speed recovery

Take heart: Cardiac Rehab is a surefire way to speed recovery

People often think of short-term rehab for knee and hip replacement. But for those recuperating from heart attacks, bypass surgery, and even angioplasty, cardiac rehab at a well- equipped facility like The Nathaniel Witherell, which offers sub-acute care, is an excellent option to speed a healthy recovery.

Physicians often prescribe cardiac rehab within a month of cardiac surgery, with good reason. According to studies conducted by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, those people who participated in cardiac rehab were less likely to hospitalized again, and there were fewer rates of death.  These findings are confirmed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which adds that cardiac rehab can help prevent another, perhaps more serious heart attack. It also can help you build endurance and more heart-healthy habits.

“Yet, most people don’t realize that cardiac rehab is needed,” notes Elizabeth Mungai, BSN, RN, Director of Utilization Clinical, Outcomes & Rehab Services at The Nathaniel Witherell. “Instead, there’s a tendency for cardiac patients to focus on their low endurance and feeling of weakness, not realizing that if their breathing and cardiac functions are poorly managed, they may never achieve the level of physical function they aspire to.”

She points out that the heart is a muscle that has to be exercised as one would any other muscle. “A strong heart gets more oxygen throughout your body,” says Mungai. “When you feel better physically, a better mental outlook typically follows.”

Fortunately, the Witherell has the resources to help cardiac patients.  We offer a supervised program of physical therapy and exercise, and also teach patients how to maintain a healthy diet, achieve weight loss and improved cholesterol levels, and how to relieve stress. “The benefits are many,” says Mungai.

The Witherell’s interdisciplinary approach includes:

  • A comprehensive assessment and evaluation, performed at the onset
  • Individualized treatments that are carefully monitored
  • State-of-the-art equipment: treadmill, oxygen therapy, nebulization, CPAP and BIPAP machines and vests, and incentive spirometry and acapella devices
  • Suites for physical and occupational therapy, speech and language pathology
  • Expert physical, occupational, and respiratory therapists; registered nurses; staff physiatrist
  • Private, graciously appointed rooms
  • Support post-discharge for continued recovery.

So, if you or a loved one are facing cardiac surgery or are recovering from a heart attack or angioplasty, feel free to reach out to us for more information about our short-term rehab services. “We are an important bridge between a hospital stay and home,” says Mungai.

For further information, please contact AiLinh Tu, Director of Physical Therapy, ailinh.tu@witherell.org.

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