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Cardiac Rehabilitation propels patient toward post-surgery goals

Over two million Americans are eligible for cardiac rehabilitation after a heart procedure, yet enrollment is low, ranging from 10-34% participation rate nationally. Those who attend 36 sessions of cardiac rehabilitation, have a 47% lower risk of cardiac-related death, and a 31% lower risk of heart attack then those who did not. While the average age of bypass patients is 68.5 years, we know that heart disease can strike much younger, and that the benefits of cardiac rehab can have a great impact on that younger population. Yet only approximately 10% of eligible rehab patients between the ages of 40 – 50 years participate in rehab. If they knew Alex’s story, maybe more would.

At only 42 years of age, Alex Denham was diagnosed with heart disease. After undergoing a successful quadruple cardiac bypass surgery, Alex completed cardiac rehab with Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.

The progress since his surgery is a true testament to the power of a positive attitude and the importance of following the experts’ post-surgical instructions, including attending cardiac rehabilitation. “Cardiac rehab was an extension of the incredible patient experience I had during my medical journey,” says Alex. “I spent 36 sessions in rehab, and the team demonstrated a level of patience and caring that far exceeded my expectations.”

Thanks to the skills and conditioning he gained during cardiac rehab, Alex was able to fulfill a promise to his son by taking him skiing at Sugarloaf a little over three months after surgery. The duo also climbed Mt. Katahdin in June, five months after Alex’s surgery. Alex says, “Cardiac rehabilitation was critical to my success on the road to recovery, and I encourage anyone facing heart surgery to take full advantage of this terrific program.”

To learn more about the Northern Light Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, talk to a primary or specialty care provider, visit northernlighthealth.org/emmc-cardiacrehab or call 207.973.4600.