Freeman Medical Focus — Cardiac Rehab

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JOPLIN, Mo. — Having problems with your heart can lead to medication or surgery. But for many patients, rebuilding strength and endurance means some time in rehab.

Richard Zaccardelli, Rehab Patient: “The benefits are great because what happened to me was I had high blood pressure and it wore down the muscle in my heart.”

Richard Zaccardelli had an implant eight years ago, a left ventricular assist device. He exercises twice a week at Freeman Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab.

“Really feel good for the next few days.”

Nurse Paula Ward says the facility is uniquely equipped to make sure heart patients stay healthy while getting healthy.

Paula Ward, Cardiac Pulmonary Rehab, said, “They are able to work out on our exercise machines while being monitored. We have a telemetry system.”

So she can keep tabs on any changes.

“While they’re exercising on our bikes or treadmills – it records their heart rhythm and their heart rate and then if we see anything of concern we can notify their physician.”

Ward emphasizes it’s important for heart patients to make progress while not overstressing the heart.

“The heart is a muscle and just like any other muscle it needs to be trained and conditioned.”

“I know everybody with high blood pressure they need to exercise that heart, it’s very important,” said Zaccardelli.

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