— Bill Wilson, Cardiac Rehab Patient
Las Vegas resident Bill Wilson is an avid cyclist who found himself experiencing shortness of breath during his bike rides. Diagnosed with a 90 percent blockage in one artery, he underwent successful balloon angioplasty and opted for outpatient cardiac rehabilitation to help regain his strength.
Cardiac rehabilitation is recommended for anyone who has a major cardiac procedure such as treatment for a heart attack, artery blockage or cardiac surgery, or a diagnosis of congestive heart failure.
“We emphasize the three Es,” says Rebekah Ehler, RN, cardiac rehab coordinator for Summerlin Hospital. “Exercise, education and encouragement.” The medically supervised program focuses on recovery, addressing risk factors that can lead to heart disease and developing healthier habits to reduce cardiac mortality.
This is also the focus at Desert Springs Hospital, where Wilson went for his rehab. “Along with supervised exercise, we look for ways to reduce our patients’ risk for heart disease,” says Sarah Sarich, RRT, cardiac rehab coordinator for Desert Springs Hospital. “We discuss nutrition, stress reduction, medication management, smoking cessation, diabetes management, and safe and effective exercise at home.”
Wilson, who works out regularly, appreciated the method of training used by his cardiac rehab team. “They are very competent, very patient and they monitor you very closely,” he says. “It gives you a sense of confidence, and I noticed that with other cardiac rehab patients as well.”
Now recovered from his procedure, Bill is glad to be back on his bike, cycling anywhere from 30 to 50 miles each week with his wife through one of his favorite places, the Clark County Wetlands. “We think of Las Vegas as flat, but there are lots of sustained, challenging hills, and you must pace yourself,” he says. And thanks to cardiac rehab, it’s not a problem.