ST. LOUIS, MO, March 14, 2016 –Arkansas cardiovascular patients will continue to receive the finest cardiac treatment available as Arkansas Heart Hospital’s Strong Hearts Rehabilitation Center has become the first hospital in Arkansas to launch the Pritikin ICRTM (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation) program for patients suffering from cardiovascular disease, the state’s No. 1 killer.

The decision by Arkansas Heart Hospital means that patients who have suffered from one of six qualifying cardiovascular events can be enrolled in the Pritikin ICR program at the Strong Hearts Rehabilitation Center. That program is one of only two Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation programs being offered to hospitals in the United States. It is based in turn on the Pritikin lifestyle program, which focuses on the role of healthy eating, regular exercise and a healthy mind-set.

Leading medical journals have published more than 100 peer-reviewed studies that have validated the Pritikin lifestyle program’s efficacy in addressing heart disease, as well as a variety of other conditions, diseases and health concerns. The Pritikin lifestyle program has been taught continuously at the Pritikin Longevity Center for the last 40 years.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Arkansas, according to the Centers for Disease Control, outpacing cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases, which rank second and third. The death rate from cardiovascular disease in Arkansas is also much higher than in the United States as a whole, the CDC data show, as Arkansas has the fourth highest death rate from cardiovascular disease in the country.

“Pritikin ICR is a comprehensive program designed to improve health outcomes for patients who have recently suffered a cardiovascular disease-related event such as a heart attack,” said Bob Franceschelli, President of St. Louis-based Pritikin ICR. “Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle is an important component in the patient’s road to recovery, complementing medical procedures and medications that are often prescribed by physicians. Through a comprehensive and engaging series of educational sessions, the Pritikin ICR program teaches patients how to sustain a heart-healthy eating plan, regular exercise, and the kind of mind-set that fosters healthy behaviors.”

“Arkansas Heart Hospital is a nationally recognized and award-winning hospital dedicated to giving patients an increased opportunity to experience success in treatment and rehabilitation, and to ultimately reduce risk factors to best prevent another cardiovascular event,” said Adam Head, Arkansas Heart Hospital Chief Operating Officer. “Heart disease is a serious health issue within the Arkansas community and we’re excited to provide an additional treatment option by offering the Pritikin ICR program. This program will be a natural extension of the high quality services our hospital is already providing to both patients from Little Rock and statewide.”

The Pritikin program offers the opportunity for improved health outcomes and reduced readmissions for those who suffered a cardiac event. The ICR program consists of 72 sessions, providing patients with substantially more education in healthy living than they receive in ordinary Cardiac Rehab (CR), which is typically 36 sessions primarily focused on exercise. The Pritikin ICR program incorporates the 36 CR sessions of exercise and adds 36 sessions of education.

“The sessions,” Franceschelli noted, “will offer a mix of exercise, individual education, counseling, and group workshops facilitated by Strong Heart Rehabilitation personnel, including new features such as heart healthy cooking classes in onsite kitchen facilities and instruction on healthy food shopping and meal planning.”

More information is available at www.pritikinicr.com.

About Pritikin Programs
The Pritikin Program emphasizes exercise, a healthy mind-set, and an eating plan focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat, nonfat dairy, and protein-rich plant foods like legumes, or beans. Today, the Pritikin Program is taught at the Pritikin Longevity Center, a full service health resort in Miami, Florida, and in hospital provided outpatient programs licensed in a number of states throughout the country. All Pritikin Programs are covered by Medicare for qualifying individuals. The medical conditions that qualify for Medicare reimbursement include heart attack, coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty, stable angina (chest pain), heart or heart-lung transplants, and heart valve repair or replacements. For more information, please visit www.pritikinicr.com.

About Arkansas Heart Hospital
Arkansas Heart Hospital is a nationally recognized and award-winning hospital dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. We offer advanced technology teamed with a highly trained support staff and Arkansas’ leading cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons. Arkansas Heart Hospital is a training center for physicians from all over the world.