February 1, 2016


February is American Heart Month! Did you know that Cardiac Rehabilitation can help you recover from a heart attack and reduce your risk of dying from any future heart attack? Cardiac Rehabilitation at Huggins Hospital is a comprehensive program to provide physical training, education and support for people with heart disease. Under the supervision of the medical director Dr. Stephen Fleet, MD, the Nurse Coordinator Judith Orth, RN and our Exercise Specialists, people with heart disease can improve their strength and stamina, learn how to manage their diet, and develop habits to help take control of their health – all while having fun in the process!

The Huggins Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation “Phase II” telemetry-monitored exercise program is designed based on a participant’s medical diagnosis, initial fitness level and past medical history. Participants’ cardiac rhythms and vital signs are monitored throughout each session to ensure safety and to measure progress. Reports are regularly provided to the participant’s health care team so medications and treatments may be adjusted by a primary care physician (PCP) or cardiologist as needed. Participants also have the opportunity to participate in monthly group nutritional education sessions led by Huggins Hospital clinical dietitian Stephanie Swannick, RD.

Cardiac Rehabilitation can help people recover after a heart attack, a heart procedure such as angioplasty or stent, or heart surgery such as a valve replacement, heart transplant or CABG. It is also helpful for people with coronary artery disease (CAD) and/or stable angina or heart failure (CHF). Additional benefits include:

  1. reduced risk of dying from a heart attack;
  2. decreased chest pain (angina) and the need for medicines to treat chest pain;
  3. a lower chance of having to go back to the hospital or emergency room for a heart problem;
  4. weight loss;
  5. reduced resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure;
  6. increased efficiency of the heart;
  7. increased serum high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol;
  8. decreased serum triglycerides;
  9. reduced insulin needs and improved glucose tolerance;
  10. reduced stress;
  11. improved mobility, which can help you stay independent;
  12. improved overall health, self-confidence and quality of life; and
  13. increased stamina and endurance, which can help participants return to work or take part in social activities and exercise.

Huggins Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation sessions are offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:00 am, 11:00 am, and again at 1:00 pm. The program is covered by most insurances including Medicare and requires a physician referral. The referral can be either through a PCP or a cardiologist. Patients are encouraged to maintain their exercise regimen after completion of the Phase II program, and an unmonitored “Phase III” maintenance program is available for “Phase II” graduates. If you would like more information about Cardiac Rehabilitation, please call (603) 569-7624.