Cardiac rehab changing lives

Carol Casebolt

Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) Interventional Cardiologist and Medical Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation, Muhammad Ahmad MD, recently congratulated Jim Evans on his 10th anniversary in cardiac rehabilitation (rehab).


In April 2007, Evans presented at PMC with an emergency situation that resulted in open heart surgery and six coronary bypasses.


“I knew something was wrong,” said Evans. “I was having trouble walking around but I thought, through diet and exercise, I could take care of things.”


After his surgery, Evans followed the advice of his surgeon and cardiologist and began his therapy in PMC’s Cardiac Rehab.


“Cardiac Rehabilitation is a medically supervised program for people who have had a heart attack, heart failure, heart valve surgery, coronary bypass grafting or percutaneous coronary intervention,” said Dr. Ahmad. “It involves adopting heart healthy lifestyle changes to address risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”


Dr. Ahmad says cardiac rehab is designed to help adopt lifestyle changes. This program includes exercise training, education on heart healthy living and counseling to reduce stress and help patients return to an active life.


“Cardiac Rehab can improve your health and quality of life,” said Dr. Ahmad. “It can reduce the need for medications to treat heart or chest pain, decrease the chance you will go back to the hospital or emergency room for a heart problem, prevent future heart problems and help you live longer.”


Dr. Ahmad commends Evans for his commitment to improving his heart health through cardiac rehab.


“Physical activity is the main part of cardiac rehabilitation,” said Dr. Ahmad. “Remember, physical activity is any body movement that works your muscles and requires more energy than resting. Walking, running, dancing, swimming, yoga and gardening are examples of physical activity. Exercise, on the other hand, is a type of physical activity that is planned and structured. Lifting weights, aerobics class, playing a sport are examples of exercise and are recommended for about 30 to 45 minutes, five to six days a week.”


“Cardiac rehab has enabled me to do a lot of things I probably could not have done if I had not had it,” said Evans.  “The nurses and everyone here keep an eye on you. They check on you.  You do not live in denial. If you have a problem they will do everything they can to accelerate your appointment with your cardiologist to see what could be going on.”


Evans says this area needs the heart institute and cardiac rehab.


Evans has literally lived coast-to-coast but has resided in Pikeville for 12 years.  He retired from the University of Pikeville where he served as Vice President of Finance and Administration.


“I have literally lived from Boston to Seattle, all across the country,” said Evans. “I cannot imagine I could have received better care anywhere.  My wife and I noticed, there is a great caring for people here at Pikeville. You will run into very professional care other places, but there is a special caring here, the kind of thing that you often do not see everywhere else. This special level of care has certainly been exemplified by the nurses in cardiac rehab.”


“We at Pikeville Medical Center strive to give the best to our patients while keeping in mind their needs and restrictions,” said Dr. Ahmad.


He urges heart patients to take advantage of cardiac rehab.


For more information about cardiac rehabilitation call 606-218-4925.