Mercy Health – Lorain Expands Cardiac Rehabilitation Program


According to the World Health Organization, 80% of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes can be prevented through healthier lifestyle choices, which is why Mercy Health – Lorain is now offering an enhanced, intensive cardiac rehab program using the Pritikin ICR™ (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation) Program, to treat patients with cardiovascular disease.

Based on Pritikin’s evidence-based lifestyle program that helps patients with cardiovascular disease focus their at-home habits and overall mindset on healthy choices, patients will learn how changes in diet and exercise can provide incredible long-term outcomes. The skills taught using the Pritikin program are based on three pillars: safe, effective exercise, a balanced eating plan based on minimally-processed, whole foods and a healthy mindset which fosters overall healthy choices.

“Both healthy eating and exercise are choices each of us make every day, however, these lifestyle changes can dramatically improve the quality of life for those living with cardiovascular disease,” said Amanda Pickens, Director of Radiology, Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Services at Mercy Health – Lorain.

The Pritikin program is one of only two Medicare-approved, evidence-based rehab programs that promote long-term well-being following a serious heart event such as a heart attack, bypass or valve surgery, chest pain, amongst others.

“Even small changes in diet and exercise that this new program helps educate patients on have the ability to lower blood cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure and regulate blood sugars,” said Dr. Wes Holiday, interventional cardiologist at Mercy Health.

Patients can start immediately once cleared and referred by their physician and can be completed in as little as eight weeks to 18 weeks, based on the availability and lifestyle of the patient.

“This really is a game-changer when it comes to rehab programs,” said Pickens. “The patient helps drive the curriculum and timeline, helping further reinforce their control in their own health.”

In addition to nutrition and exercise, the program also provides education and training around stress management, another critical part of a cardiac patient’s long-term disease management.

“Diabetes, Hypertension (high blood pressure) and Dyslipidemia (cholesterol) are often silent and painless until they become advanced and adversely deteriorates one’s vast organ systems,” added Dr. Donald Cho, cardiologist and cardiac rehabilitation program medical director at Mercy Health. “Every day is a meaningful one for a heart healthy lifestyle; I strongly recommend all patients, especially if they already have been diagnosed with heart disease, to take advantage of the available programs, be proactive and build a stronger as well as healthier heart lifestyle to prevent future adverse events.”

Dr. Cho said Mercy Health – Lorain invested in a newly renovated cardiac rehab space that will support the program within the organization’s Mercy Health Lorain Hospital on Kolbe Rd in Lorain.