(KUTV) While out of town for work, Tyler Rawlings was at his hotel when he started to feel a bunch of pressure on his chest.
“Both of my arms started going numb from the elbow down and I decided I better drive myself into the hospital,” says Tyler.
Tests revealed he had a heart attack. Tyler was shocked because he exercises regularly, has normal cholesterol, normal blood pressure, and has no known family history of heart disease. Doctors told him he needed surgery right away, putting two stents into one of the main arteries supplying his heart.
After a big heart-related event like a heart attack, recovery and future prevention are key.
“After surgery we enroll them as discharged into a 36 session cardiac rehab outpatient program,” says Dr. Alec Eror a cardiothoracic surgeon at Dixie Regional Medical Center and medical director of the cardiac rehab program.
Cardiac rehab is crucial when recovering from a heart attack.
“Surgery and stent placements, it’s just one part of their care. A lot of it is how they care for themselves afterwards. That’s really the hard part,” says Dr. Eror.
Cardiac rehab allows patients to be seen quickly after surgery, reduces their chances of readmission, and guides them towards a healthier lifestyle. They focus on not only exercise, but nutrition, social factors, and home environment are also key.
“It was a matter of coming in three times a week and basically getting hooked up to heart monitors and doing a similar workout to what I used to do at the gym,” says Tyler.
The customized diet and exercise program takes place in a controlled and safe environment.
“We try to focus on a couple of areas we work on this week, and then maybe next week we’ll focus on another area,” says Keoki Weaver an exercise physiologist at Dixie Regional Medical Center.
By the end of the program the goal is for patients to be able to do everything they’re doing during cardiac rehab at home and on a routine basis.