Feb. 16, 2022 — For patients recovering from heart procedures, such as bypass or stent placement, the cardiac rehabilitation program at Weiss Memorial Hospital has been an essential next step toward regaining a healthy life.

Cardiac Rehab staff by treadmill

“So, you can imagine the disappointment when both patients and referring doctors learned our outpatient cardiac rehab services were temporarily on hold,” said Lynn Jackman, RN, Weiss cardiac rehab nurse.

With the pandemic, staffing challenges, and needed maintenance, outpatient cardiac rehab services at Weiss were suspended for six months. While the cardiac staff assisted many patients in finding new programs, patients missed the convenient location and the camaraderie they experienced at Weiss. Several continued their recovery efforts on their own by joining a gym or beginning a new exercise regimen, such as a walking routine.

“However, when cardiac patients join a gym or manage their own exercise routine, they are missing out on a crucial component: a healthcare professional who is trained to monitor their blood pressure, heart rate, and overall health while they exercise. We are there to intervene if any symptoms present a risk,” shared Jackman.

Thankfully, with a little remodeling, refurbished equipment, and the return of experienced staff, outpatient cardiac rehab services are available once again. Patients are excited to be back with their workout buddies and under the watchful eye of the cardiac team that includes Jackman, a critical care and cardiac nurse with over 30 years of experience, and Mitchell Tuthill, MS, a specially trained clinical exercise physiologist.

“When I found out cardiac rehab services were available once again, I called to resume the rest of my exercise therapy. It is so convenient to walk to Weiss three times a week. The cardiac team makes sure I am safe when I work out and helps keep me on track with good advice about exercising, eating right, and staying healthy,“ said Weiss patient Sidney Knox.

“Some of our patients have been coming to our program for 15-plus years. As an exercise physiologist, it is a good feeling to be able to help patients understand their disease and how exercise will help them live a longer, healthier life after their heart issue,” added Tuthill.

Did you know?

Cardiac rehabilitation reduces the risk of a future cardiac event by stabilizing, slowing or even reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease.

Each year, roughly 935,000 Americans will have a coronary event, and more than 30 percent will have a second and potentially fatal one.

Clinical research has shown cardiac rehabilitation reduces mortality by over 50 percent, compared with those patients who do not participate.

Source: American Heart Association