New Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Offered at Penn Highlands Brookville

One in every five adults over the age of 70 are diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD), the narrowing or blockage of vessels that carry blood away from the heart. A new exercise therapy program specifically for patients with PAD is being offered by Penn Highlands Brookville Cardiac Rehabilitation. Supervised exercise therapy (SET) for PAD patients helps with alleviating the pain that comes along with the condition such as cramping while walking, nerve damage and breakdown of the skin. SET is intermittent walking therapy which includes exercise sessions and lifestyle coaching.

PAD particularly affects the vessels in the legs and feet. It can be caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Some of the risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and tobacco use. PAD affects millions of people in the United States, but many have little to no symptoms. The most common symptom is intermittent claudication, which is cramping or fatigue in the legs that is brought on by exertion such as walking and exercise but the pain goes away when your body is at rest.

“The SET program offers benefits to patients such as decreasing the need for surgical procedures like peripheral bypass or stenting of the arteries in the lower extremities,” said Annette Wolbert, RN, who is a Certified Cardiac Rehab Professional (CCRP) at Penn Highlands Brookville with more than 30 years of experience.

The SET program offers patients relief from the symptoms they may be experiencing from PAD and intermittent claudication. The program consists of 30- to 60- minute sessions that take place three days a week. Each session is conducted by qualified staff who are specifically trained in this type of therapy. The session includes a therapeutic exercise program which involves the use of intermittent walking exercise. The SET program helps patients perform activities of daily living with less difficulty, walk longer and further distances pain free, increase overall strength and endurance and improve the quality of life. The program also focuses on educating patients regarding risk factors for PAD.

Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Penn Highlands Brookville offers patients a professionally supervised outpatient program that assists in recovery from various health conditions. Cardiac rehabilitation is a program for anyone recovering from heart attacks, cardiac bypass surgery, stents, angioplasty and other heart-related illnesses.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is for patients who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, or lung cancer. With two nationally certified cardiac rehabilitation nurses on staff at Penn Highlands Brookville, patients are provided with support and guidance while healing from their heart and lung related ailments through education and exercise. Benefits of receiving services from the Penn Highlands Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation program include decreasing the risk of heart disease, reducing shortness of breath, decreasing depression and anxiety and being able to return to work and perform daily living with less difficulty.

Penn Highlands Brookville Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation program is located on the second floor of the hospital at 100 Hospital Road in Brookville. For more information, visit or