Working together, Saint Joseph Hospital and National Jewish Health offer an Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation program for patients with severe heart disease. Based on Ornish Lifestyle Medicineā„¢, the program and approach have demonstrated significant improvement in patients with heart disease for more than 35 years.

In fact, based on a 2011 study of 4,000 patients in Pennsylvania, Nebraska and West Virginia who participated in the program, after a year:

  • 96.5% of patients reported improvement in severity of angina
  • The average patient lost 15.9 pounds
  • Most patients saw significant reductions in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL-cholesterol
  • Patients averaged a 24% increase in exercise capacity
  • Participants saw improvement is mental health outlook and decreased diabetic risk factors

Program Details

Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation is a 9-week program made up of 4-hour weekly sessions. The sessions are conducted in small groups and facilitated by a team of certified and trained staff who reinforce four dimensions of lifestyle change.

Clinical Care and Services

  • Supervised activity and exercise by certified exercise physiologists
  • Nutrition counseling from a registered dietitian
  • Stress management training overseen by a certified yoga and mindfulness instruction
  • Emotional support groups led by a psychologist or social worker

Program Candidates and Indications

The Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation accepts patients with physician referral with indications that include:

  • Recent coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Current, stable chest pain (angina)
  • Heart attack within last 12 months
  • Heart valve repair or replacement
  • Angioplasty or stent placement
  • Heart or heart-lung transplant
  • Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction of 35% or less

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