St. Joseph Mercy Livingston, a member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, is now offering an Intensive Cardiac Rehab program using the Pritikin ICR™ (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation) Program, to treat patients with cardiovascular disease. St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor was the first location in Michigan to offer the program when it launched in August 2016.
“The Pritikin program has proven to be very successful for patients at high risk for a cardiovascular event, and we are thrilled to bring this program to Livingston county to improve the health and wellness of our local community,” said John O’ Malley, president of St. Joseph Mercy Livingston hospital. “This will be the only intensive cardiac rehab program available in the county.”
The Pritikin program is based on the Pritikin lifestyle program, which focuses on the role of healthy eating, regular exercise and a healthy mind-set. The Medicare-approved evidence-based rehab program helps reduce risk factors for those who have experienced a serious heart event by implementing lifestyle changes that promote long-term health and well-being.
Numerous studies have documented the Pritikin program’s ability to lower blood cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure and blood sugar control and reduce other lifestyle-related risk factors.
Patients who have suffered from one of six qualifying cardiovascular events, including heart attack, angioplasty and stents, bypass or valve surgery, angina/chest pain, or cardiac transplant, can be enrolled at St. Joe’s in the Pritikin ICR program–one of 27 Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation programs currently offered across the United States.
Patients can begin the program immediately following a heart event and the program is easily adapted to be completed in three to 12 weeks, depending on the patient’s availability. The program encourages family members to attend for motivation and support.
The 72-session intensive cardiac rehab enhances conventional 36-session cardiac rehab, enabling a more comprehensive series of exercise, nutrition and stress management sessions for improved outcomes.
The sessions offer a mix of exercise, individual education and group workshops facilitated by St. Joe’s exercise physiologists and nutritionists, including expanded heart- healthy cooking classes and instruction on healthy food shopping and meal planning. The program is custom-designed to fit each individual’s needs with personal counseling to reinforce lecture sessions, provide coaching and track progress.
As a board-certified cardiologist practicing for more than 40 years, Dr. Frank Smith, medical director of Intensive Cardiac Rehab at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston, has seen many patients who undergo interventions such as bypass surgery or stents return with another event within a few years.
“Most treatments for cardiovascular disease have involved catheter-based or surgical interventions and there is no question that they have helped many people through the years,” explains Smith. “However, with 80 percent of cardiology conditions being lifestyle-related, cardiac rehab addresses those underlying lifestyle components such as nutrition and exercise to really impact a patient’s long-term health.”
Smith– who tested the program by applying it himself, losing 40 pounds and improving his own health– says cardiac rehab can reduce the risk of dying or having another heart attack by as much as 30 to 50 percent, according to the American College of Cardiology, which is as good or better as medication with fewer side effects.
The program is located in newly-renovated space on the first floor of St. Joseph Mercy Livingston, which now includes a state-of-the-art gym and classrooms with a demonstration kitchen.
The program is now accepting patients. For more information, please call St. Joe’s Cardiac Rehab at 517-545-6385.