Lihue, Kauai, HAWAII (July 31, 2012)—Wilcox Memorial Hospital has opened a new Cardiac Rehabilitation program to improve the health and well being of patients with heart issues. It is the only program of its kind on Kaua‘i.

Cardiac rehabilitation is a structured program to help patients make changes in lifestyle and learn about the appropriate use of medication after a cardiac event. The program also utilizes exercise treadmills, exercise bikes, cross trainers and free weights.

“Cardiac rehab has broad benefits for heart attack patients, aiding in a speedier and safer recovery,” said Wilcox cardiologist Dr. Andrew So. “Being able to exercise in a carefully monitored setting allows the patient to recover their function as quickly as possible, knowing that someone is watching over them as they increase their activity. Rehab can be the central organizing presence in terms of the risk factor modification such as change in diet, exercise pattern and smoking cessation. In addition, the social setting of cardiac rehab is found to be beneficial for many patients from a psychological stand point.”

At Wilcox, each cardiac rehab patient will receive a specially designed treatment plan which focuses on their own unique condition and limitations. Patients start at a comfortable level and progress under the supervision of a cardiologist and cardiac rehab nurse, who will also discuss educational topics such as diet and other healthy habits. “When patients graduate from the program, we encourage them to follow a custom-designed home exercise program to maintain their conditioning,” Dr. So said.

The program is available Monday through Friday in the Cardiac Services Department, located adjacent to the Wilcox Family Imaging Center and across from the Kaua‘i Medical Clinic. Patients must be referred by a doctor on the Wilcox cardiology team; call 245-1090 for information. Cardiac rehabilitation services are covered by most major insurance carriers.

Common diagnoses or conditions which might benefit from cardiac rehab are:

After a heart attack

With a diagnosis of stable angina (chest pain or discomfort that typically occurs with activity or stress)

After open heart surgery, including coronary artery bypass, valve repair or replacement and heart transplant

After angioplasty or stent placement

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