Slowing cardiovascular disease with cardiac rehabilitation

  • Thursday, January 8, 2009

Summerville Medical Center TRIDENT

Summerville Medical Center has offered a Cardiac Rehabilitation program since 1996, designed to help patients recover quickly and improve their overall physical, mental and social functioning following a cardiac event.  Cardiac events include acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), coronary bypass surgery, stable angina pectoris, heart valve repair/replacement, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or coronary stenting and heart/heart-lung transplant.  

This medically-supervised program is the only one of its kind offered in the Summerville area.  The program staffs six registered nurses, (four of which have more than 25 years of experience each), two exercise physiologists and one dietician who meets one-on-one with each patient.  “We have at least one registered nurse in the gym at all times,” said Danny Clayman, director of the Physical/Cardiac Rehabilitation program. “We also keep a 5:1 ratio of phase two patients and registered nurses in the gym.”  The gym also has a variety of equipment, including treadmills, steppers, an elliptical trainer, upper body exercisers, nu-steps,  upright bikes, recumbent bikes and Cybex machines.

The goal of the cardiac rehabilitation program is to stabilize, slow or even reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease, another cardiac event or death. Components of the program include:
Counseling so the patient can understand and manage the disease process
Beginning an exercise program
Counseling on nutrition
Helping the patient modify risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, high blood cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes. 
Providing vocational guidance to enable the patient to return to work
Supplying information on physical limitations
Lending emotional support
Counseling on appropriate use of prescribed medications
According to Clayman, two different phases of Cardiac Rehabilitation are offered:  Phase II and Phase IV.  “Phase two is covered by insurance and is for anyone that has experienced a cardiac event within the past year,” said Clayman.  In order to start the program, a patient would require a referral from their physician. These patients can expect to be seen three times a week for a twelve week rehabilitation program.  The program consists of working out with an exercise physiologist, monitoring by a registered nurse, one-on-one consulting with a dietician and education on many topics including healthy diet, nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation, medications and prevention of future cardiac events.

Phase IV is for patients who have graduated from Phase II and wish to continue their workouts in the Cardiac Rehabilitation department.  They have the option of paying $40 out of pocket each month, which allows them to come and work out at the gym three days a week, with no contract required.   “The only difference is that these patients are not put on a telemetry monitor like our Phase II patients,” Clayman explained.  “We do take their blood pressure and weight, and they also have the option to attend our education classes that our Phase II patients receive.  Some patients would rather come here to work out as compared to other gyms because they enjoy the atmosphere and know that if something does happen to them while working out, there are registered nurses available,” he added.

The Cardiac Rehabilitation department, located on the first floor of Summerville Medical Center, is open from 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and from 7:30 a.m. to Noon on Saturday.

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