This recent certification illustrates that the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program has met the strict standards set for by the AACVPR, a national organization that seeks to reduce morbidity, mortality and disability from cardiovascular and pulmonary disease.

“We are very pleased that our team worked so hard to achieve this certification,” said Joan Keneally-Nies, RN, BSN. “This designation speaks volumes about the high quality of care we provide to help patients live better through risk factor modification including diet, exercise and stress management.”

According to a new study released last month, patients who get all 36 sessions of cardiac rehabilitation are less likely to die or have another heart attack in the following three to four years than patients that do not complete cardiac rehabilitation. The study, which was conducted by Duke University biostatistician Bradley Hammil, concluded that more than three years later 18 percent of those who attended fewer than 12 cardiac rehabilitation sessions had died versus 11 percent of those who attended all 36 sessions. After taking into account age and other differences among the patients, that works out to a 47 percent reduction in the risk of death for those attending 36 sessions. Heart attacks are less common in that group.

“We strongly believe in the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation and have for a long time,” said David Pladziewicz, MD, director of the cardiac rehabilitation program at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford. “Our program has been around for more than 25 years and has proven to help patients get back on their feet following a cardiac episode.”

“The cardiac rehabilitation program was established as a way to improve patients’ quality of life, reduce the risk for future heart attacks as well as increase their stamina and confidence following a heart attack, angioplasty and after heart bypass surgery,” said Salil Midha, MD, director of the cardiac rehabilitation program and chief of cardiology at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. “It has been proven that patients that go through the program have marked reduction in the cardiac risk factors, markedly increased endurance and  are less likely to have a repeat heart attack and less likely to smoke.”

Hallmark Health encourages patients that have been treated at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital as well as other hospitals in the region to contact them to find out more about their cardiac rehabilitation. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program provides cardiac rehabilitation to individuals who have experienced angina, a heart attack, cardiac surgery, balloon angioplasty, stent placement or heart transplants. The Cardiac Rehabilitation team has designed a comprehensive program from evaluation to completion and beyond that helps patients achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The program consists of three distinct phases. Phase 1 begins while patients are in the hospital while Phase 2 takes place following discharge from the hospital.

During Phase 1, while in the hospital, patients begin physical therapy as needed and begin education on cardiac disease. During Phase 2, patients will join a group of other patients to exercise while supervised by a cardiac nurse and exercise physiologist or physical therapist. A telemetry unit monitors patients’ heart's performance during exercise. Patients will also attend group education classes covering a variety of cardiac care topics.

Cardiac rehabilitation patients are treated by cardiologists, nurses who specialize in cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, certified diabetes educators, dietitians as well as yoga and meditation instructors. This comprehensive team is dedicated to optimizing patients’ level of activity and function in a safe environment. Team members continuously monitor patients’ progress and modify treatment plans accordingly.

Research has shown that patients who participate in cardiac rehabilitation programs, including education and exercise, show improved functioning of the heart and lungs, improved management of risk factors, increased confidence, an enriched sense of well-being and live longer.
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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Cancer Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Malden; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology.

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