Cardiac Rehab for Heart Patients

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - After a person has a heart attack or heart surgery, getting back into a normal physical routine can be intimidating. In this Healthcast, we show you how cardiac rehab is helping heart patients get back in the groove - while lowering their risk for another cardiac event.

When Carmen Iley's osteoporosis, diabetes and heart problems started to affect her daily routine, she knew it was time for a change.  "I was having trouble with my knees and with my shoulders," says Carmen, "I couldn't get around real well, then I had to have a stint put in because of my heart.  My blood wasn't flowing right."

At 72 years young, this mother, grandmother and great-grandmother took on a new role in cardiac rehab at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital.  "I was always feeling tired," says Carmen, "I didn't feel very good and when I started coming here, I just felt like doing things."

Carmen's physician recommended that she start a 12-week long rehabilitation program to get her heart and health in check.  Exercise physiologist Kelly Darbonne says, "We monitor their heart rate, their heart rhythm, their blood pressure and they also get a lot of educational information from our nurse, from an exercise physiologist and they also have access to a registered dietitian who teaches them about heart healthy eating."

Through cardiac rehab, Darbonne helps heart patients who aren't sure how much physical activity they should have after a heart attack or surgery.  "For some of them, just being here on a monitor helps relieve some of their fears in knowing that they can still exert themselves and they'll be okay," says Darbonne.

Cardiac rehab puts heart patients on the right track to improve their functional capacity and reduce risk factors for heart problems. Carmen has taken what she learned at St. Pat's back home with her - where she is now able to walk a mile a day and feel great.

"I'm feeling wonderful," says Carmen, "I feel great!"

Your doctor will usually order outpatient cardiac rehab within a week of your discharge from the hospital following a procedure or heart attack.