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Art of Aging: Outpatient cardiac rehab can strengthen your heart

Lankenau Medical Center March 24, 2022 Heart Health

When June Harris, 67, arrived at Lankenau Medical Center’s emergency room saying she was out of energy, she got a big surprise. It turns out she had blocked coronary arteries and needed heart bypass surgery.

Months later, Harris was still experiencing lack of energy so she returned to Lankenau to participate in the outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.

Watch 6abc Art of Aging segment with Tamala Edwards

Outpatient cardiac rehab is a supervised program that may include:

  • Low-intensity aerobic exercise and strength training
  • Blood pressure and heart rhythm monitoring during exercise
  • Nutrition, stress management, hypertension, diabetes and exercise education

Trained cardiac rehab specialists work with patients like Harris to strengthen the heart muscle and increase endurance and stamina.

Outpatient cardiac rehab is often recommended for patients who’ve experienced:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Weakened heart muscle

Or have had an intervention or surgery, such as:

  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Heart valve repair or replacement
  • Angioplasty or stents

Each patient follows a six- to 10-week program, working one-on-one with a cardiac rehab specialist during each one-hour session. Each session is individually tailored to the patient’s needs and the cardiac rehab nurses also provide education support with lifestyle changes.

As for Harris, she’s on a healthy track at the completion of her program. She’s down 35 pounds and takes 30-minute walks every day. Not to mention she’s eating more fruits and vegetables, and in smaller portions.

Main Line Health serves patients at hospitals and health centers throughout the western suburbs of Philadelphia. To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.