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Rebuilding Healthy Hearts – Podcast

Health and Wellness

Much like physical therapy helps your body recover from injury, cardiac rehabilitation helps your heart muscle recover from the trauma of a cardiac event. But treatment goes far beyond the physical symptoms. In this episode we hear firsthand how nurses, therapists and participants work together to create a supportive and healing community for everyone involved.


  • CJ Anderson
  • Sandra Dykes, RN, Cardiac Rehab
  • David Tupper, Cardiac rehab participant

Who receives cardiac rehab?

  • People who have experienced a cardiac event (cardiac arrest, heart attack, etc.)
  • People who have high risk, but have not yet experienced an event – Take our heart assessment
  • People who will be having cardiac surgery

No matter the severity, cardiac rehab provides physical, mental and emotional support.

Your heart is a muscle that needs to be toned through exercise. After an injury to your heart muscle it’s important to (safely) build the muscle back up. Rehab activities are highly personalized to keep you safe and help you reach your personal goals.

David - Cardiac Rehabilitation patientDavid’s story

David began his experience with cardiac rehab after a major cardiac event in his 40’s. After a valve replacement and a bypass he was on a wait list for a heart transplant. While waiting he decided to get involved with cardiac rehab. With the help of the nurses and the support of other participants he was able to exceed the expectations of himself and his doctors.

Starting out, simple things like lying on the floor and getting back up were a challenge for David. He learned to define his progress in slow steps. It became important not to compare his progress to the other participants (many of whom were considerably older than him). Over time, David made many friends in the program that helped encourage and support his journey.

These relationships also provided another key benefit. This shared experience allowed other participants to provide David emotional support. They could talk in real terms about the physical and mental aspects of their recovery. Prayer also played a key role in David’s journey.

A cardiac event affects everyone

David felt his event was very personal. But his family was also affected by the experience. Their love for a husband and father produced strong emotional to reactions to David’s experiences. The cardiac rehab staff embraces and encourages these relationships. An ongoing support group helps family members of cardiac rehab patients and their families learn how they can face this recovery together. The group seeks to replace fear, uncertainty and doubt with hope and healing.

David - Cardiac rehab patient and Adventist Health volunteerGiving back

Dave now volunteers as an ambassador for the Cardiac Rehab team. He meets with patients prior to cardiac surgery to share his personal experience and provide firsthand answers to questions they may have. He also lets them know they now have a caring and supportive community waiting to help them with recovery for their physical and emotional heart.


Author: LivingWell PDX Blog

Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.


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