Heart attack victims’ long road to recovery

Programs designed to cater to each patient's needs

(CNN) – Often times people who have had cardiac events, like a heart attack, a stent put in an artery, or even open heart surgery, think that once they are released from the hospital, their worries are over. Not so.

Last April, 56 year-old John Hughes got up, got dressed, and went to work. It seemed like any other day, but that day was going to change his life.

“These pains just came out of nowhere.”

John was having a heart attack.

“I started having the pains and hoped that they would go away, and then they didn’t.”

His doctors had put a stent in his heart to clear a blocked artery. The surgery was over but the hard work was just beginning. John’s doctors sent him to cardiac rehabilitation.

“Everyone gets a program designed for them. It’s no out of the box settings, so we assess them to see where their functional capacity is and where they are going to begin.”

“The studies have shown regardless, whether or not you just had a simple stent and you were going back verses something which seems more significant, which is a heart attack or open heart surgery, the recommendations are really that everyone should undergo cardiac rehabilitation.”

Patients are monitored closely, and their blood pressure measured to track their progress. The ultimate goal is to have them on an exercise routine that they can safely keep up after surgery.

“I absolutely feel better, there is no question about it.”

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