Love Your Heart: Cardiac Rehab

Love Your Heart: Cardiac Rehab

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - If you've had a major heart event like a heart attack or surgery, the next step in the recovery process is cardiac rehab.

After a coronary event, like a heart attack or heart surgery, doctors with Willis-Knighton will often prescribe exercise to their patients as a way to help them in their recovery process.

"Statistics show that there are 800,000 deaths a year from cardiovascular disease and that in an individual that goes through cardiac rehab, there's a reduction of somewhere between 45-50%," said Dr. Robert Lafargue, a cardiologist and the Medical Director of the Willis-Knighton Cardiac Rehab.

Vern Lyons is 64-years-old, a little more than a year ago she was having problems with her heart.

"It was some kind of viral thing possibly that was creating a problem for me. And we thought that with proper diet and exercise and the right team we maybe could improve it," said Lyons.

Lyons had issues with her Ejection Fraction, or EF, which refers to the amount of blood that's pumped out of her heart with each beat.

"I started out with 10-15% EF," Lyons said.

She was told to start going to cardiac rehab at Willis-Knighton.

"As they begin the program, we have them sit down, they sit down and we check their blood pressure and then we hook them to the electrocardiogram. See what the electrocardiogram and their heart rate is. And then we take their blood pressure. And then we have them begin with various exercise," Dr. Lafargue said.

Many of their patients don't know how to exercise properly, so they'll work closely with the patient to train them on what to do.

"It's a team effort because we have a nurse, we have two exercise physiologists we have a dietician, a physician. There's a lot of teamwork that goes into rehabilitating a person after they've had an event," Dr. Lafargue said.

Everything is watched by staff closely, so the patient doesn't over-exert themselves, and to help them reach their goals. Lyons says she knows it's working, her blood flow is now at normal levels. She credits the cardiac rehab with getting her back on track.

"Had I just gone to a regular gym, I would not have pushed myself, I would not have had the same goal," Lyons said.

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