VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Getting Back on Your Feet After A Cardiac Event
Taking an active role in your health care and working with the right team of providers can make a big difference after suffering a heart attack or enduring a heart procedure. During National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, VA Palo Alto Health Care System wants to share what it is doing to help you get back on your feet after a cardiac event.
For over twenty years, Dr. Jonathan Myers, a research scientist and the principle investigator for many cardiac studies, has conducted several clinical studies that gain valuable research data while offering a great cardiac rehabilitation program for Veterans.
His studies use everything from wearable devices that monitor the heart and blood pressure to good old-fashioned exercise.
“The devices are great but our golden rule is always logging regular physical activity,” said Dr. Myers, explaining how the devices do not always give the best measurement or motivation.
Whichever a Veteran uses to log their physical activity, just getting up and moving their body seems to be the best way to combat heart disease. Studies show anywhere from 20-40 percent reduction in adverse reactions when a patient enters cardiac rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, many of these programs are based on referrals from a doctor, which is not always the first thing that comes to mind during an office visit.
“We see about 10-15 percent of people who are eligible still not participate because they just don’t know about the program,” said Dr. Myers.
Other factors also play into this issue, including funding and the tendency for prescribing pharmaceutical alternatives by doctors.
Fortunately for Dr. Myers and his colleague Dr. Khin Chan, also a research health scientist and clinical coordinator for renal studies, they both work at VAPAHCS where the second largest VA research program resides.
The PCI Alternative Using Sustained Exercise, or PAUSE, study is run by Dr. Myers and his team, with the help of referrals from primary care doctors and co-investigators from other programs. Dr. Chan runs the Protein-Signaling Exercise in Renal Failure: A Clinical Trial, or PERFACT, which uses the same type of physical activity goals to help Veterans suffering from renal failure.
Learn more about the cardiac rehab programs by talking with your doctor at your next visit.