National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week

J.C. Blair Celebrates Cardiac Rehab Week February 11-17

Join J.C. Blair Hospital during National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, February 11-17, in celebrating the life-saving impact of cardiac rehabilitation. J.C. Blair is honoring its staff and patients and the role cardiac rehabilitation plays in reducing the potentially devastating effects of heart disease and improving quality of life for patients and their families.

Studies have shown a 58% reduction in cardiac death rates for rehab participants after one year of treatment. Cardiac rehabilitation participants are 31% less likely to be readmitted to a hospital for heart- related illnesses and experience a 30% increase in physical fitness.

J.C. Blair’s Cardiac Rehab is the one of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) certified programs in the region to offer a medically monitored exercise program for those who have had a recent heart illness or surgery/procedure. Cardiac Rehab combines physical exercise with risk factor modification to help with recovery and improved physical strength, mood and quality of life. Risk factors are those things that put someone at high risk for having another cardiac event such as high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, and being overweight.

J.C. Blair’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Nursing Service Leader Denise Sheffield was the first in the region to become a certified cardiac rehabilitation professional (CCRP) by the AACVPR. In order to be certified, Sheffield had to complete over 1,200 clinical hours in cardiac rehab and pass a rigorous examination on patient assessment, tobacco cessation, exercise training, physical activity counseling, nutrition, weight, blood pressure, blood lipid, diabetes, and psychosocial management.

“Cardiac rehab is secondary prevention,” said Sheffield. “We are here to help those with known coronary artery disease prevent another event. I would like to encourage everyone to make lifestyle changes in order to prevent a coronary event altogether, preventing not only a potential heart attack but also a stroke. Talk with your primary care physician to bring your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, blood sugar under control.”

Sheffield also noted, “Since the opening of J.C. Blair’s heart catheterization lab, we have increased our cardiac rehab patients by 30%. We now have an average of 45 active patients in our program, see approximately 22 patients a day, and graduate about 150 patients per year.

Most health insurance plans cover cardiac rehab and J.C. Blair accepts all plans, including UPMC, Geisinger, Highmark, HealthAmerica, Aetna, and others.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, initiated by the AACVPR, coincides with both Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month in an effort to draw greater national attention to heart health. This year’s theme, “Making Positive Changes, One Beat at a Time,” honors the patients, families, and healthcare professionals who are dedicated to cardiac rehabilitation as a vehicle for a healthy lifestyle.

For more information about Cardiac Rehabilitation at J.C. Blair, call (814) 643- 7064 or visit

Pictured are cardiac rehab patients Gallen Lane, James Hollenbaugh, Cardiac Rehab Nurse Beth Banks, patient Vernney Peters and Cardiac Rehab Service Leader and Nurse Denise Sheffield.