Mended Hearts Open Forum

  • 1.  Cardiac Rehab? Does it help?

    Posted 06-07-2021 17:51
    Diagnosed with diabetes and heart blockage 17 years ago. eight years later a third stent , and then in January of this year ( eight years later) two more stents after experiencing shoulder pain while exercising. In every case I was able to shake off the set backs , resume exercise and living , and then two weeks ago more discomfort while walking. Angioplasty this week when doctor found 99% blockage in site of stents placed in January. All five stents in the same artery. I must admit that my confidence in fighting this disease has been shaken and for the first time since this all began I am questioning how much longer I will be able to fight off this disease. Will cardiac rehab help? Doctor says any further blockage and my only alternative will be bypass surgery.

    bob ghetti
    Hattiesburg MS

  • 2.  RE: Cardiac Rehab? Does it help?

    Posted 06-08-2021 04:32

    Everybody is different.  My dad had a minor heart attack when he was 67, same as I did, and he had a single stent and never had another heart related problem until he died at 92 from Alzheimer's.  My doctors told me that stenting would be a waste of time in my case and opted for quintuple bypass surgery.  My 85 year old uncle flunked a stress test when he was 75, was told d he had adequate collateral circulation and didn't require anything.   I'm now turning 71, my grafts are all clean as a whistle according to a recent nuclear stress test, and my only problems are recurring gout and periodic sciatica when I forget that I'm 70 not 20, 30, 40 etc in my weight and calisthenics training.

    If you do need bypass surgery, I'm here to tell you that it's not the end of the world and you may come out of it feeling great with your new plumbing once you adequately heal.  And, yes, cardiac rehab is an excellent, perhaps critical option during bypass recovery.

    Good luck,


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 3.  RE: Cardiac Rehab? Does it help?

    Posted 06-09-2021 06:20
    I join with Ira in urging you to commit to a full cardiac rehab program. You will be weak. Supervised monitored exercise will help you gain confidence, strengthen heart muscle and build collateral circulation. You'll have fellow travelers to talk with. Good luck and God bless.

    Doris Edwards
    Retired RN
    Dublin, Ohio

  • 4.  RE: Cardiac Rehab? Does it help?

    Posted 06-10-2021 01:01
    I do agree with Ira that everyone is different
    I loved the camaraderie of Rehab, and met some 
    great fellows there, but loading myself and my
    walker up into the truck every day wore
    me out physically, as well as mentally when I 
    realized I could not do Rehab just yet.  I felt like
    a failure and then when I did not have a doctors
    excuse to refrain from rehab they wrote me up as
    " Quit Rehab, No Reason".  
    Weeks after I could still not lift my walker into the
    truck I went back to my surgeon who found that my
    sternum had not even begun to heal and may not heal
    completely even into the future.  I am still at 10 pounds
    max for lifting, but now the pain and the fatigue has 
    gone away.  This has taken a year.  Looking forward to
    good things in 2021 now


  • 5.  RE: Cardiac Rehab? Does it help?

    Posted 06-12-2021 14:33
    Hi Bob. I am 8 1/2 weeks out now from CABG. I like you, and diabetic. I had my first heart cath in Dec '19, and in the next 14 months had 4 more heart caths, with re-stenosis of the same vessel every time. They even put a stent inside the first one and one proximal to that, and it still occluded. Sounds like you've actually done pretty well going that many years.

    Bypass surgery is a big deal, don't get me wrong, but in my case, it was getting really frustrating and demoralizing going through another heart cath every 3-4 months when discomfort stated again only to find the same lesion blocked again. So far so good since the surgery, and yes, I really do feel that cardiac rehab helps, as does this group. Every experience is different and I think it does help to be with other people who have had the same issues. There are many types of heart disease and rehab helps improve stamina and progressive strength. The other really important benefit of the the cardiac rehab programs is that you are monitored while at exercise, so they can detect if there are any problems with rhythm or blood pressure, or shortness of breath which is exercise related. They also do teaching on lifestyle changes and diet which may be beneficial if you have not made those changes.

    With my bypass, the doctor was able to use the LIMA, (left internal mammary artery--there's one on both sides of the chest), which he said they have found is much more likely to maintain patentcy for a long time, as opposed to the native coronary arteries or leg vein grafts. If that turns out to be the best option for you, then definitely do not turn it down. Sometimes the body just sees the stent as a foreign body, as mine apparently did, and kept setting up inflamation and buildup of blockage again. I am doing well and back to my exercise level where I was after the first heart cath. Keep us posted,

    Dennis Danner
    Retired RN
    [Punta Gorda, FL