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Published: Nov 24, 2010

By Tampa General Hospital


November 24, 2010 (Tampa, FL) - Tampa General Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Outpatient Program has been certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). This is the first time the program has received certification, said Julia Tallant, the program’s nurse clinician. The AACVPR is a professional association comprised of approximately 3,000 healthcare professionals, including a large number of cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation program directors and supervisors. The organization sponsors the Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program Certification, which is the only peer-reviewed outpatient accreditation process designed to review individual facilities for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by the AACVPR and other professional societies. TGH’s Cardiac Rehabilitation’s three-phase program is designed to help patients who have heart disease or who have had cardiac surgery or heart transplants to gain cardiovascular fitness, and to educate them about heart disease, risk factors and ways to stay healthy. The program is under the direction of a physician and supervised by an interdisciplinary staff trained in the field of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention. Phase two of TGH’s program has been certified, said Julia. The designation means the program meets a very high standard, she said. Also, health insurance companies prefer to send patients to programs that are certified by the AACVPR, she said. The first phase of TGH’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program begins at the bedside when patients are in the hospital recovering from a cardiac event. Phase two is the outpatient component of the program for patients who have had heart attacks, bypass surgery, stents, heart transplants or valve replacements. Patients are referred to the program by their physicians. The 12-week program consists of 36 sessions of progressive, monitored exercise. All patients are connected to heart monitors while they exercise, so their heart rates and blood pressure can be continuously observed. An initial evaluation is also performed to identify their risk factors for heart disease. Mutual goals are established and one-on-one counseling is provided to patients who need to lower their blood pressure, cholesterol or who need to lose weight, stop smoking, reduce stress, or need emotional support, Julia said. Once patients finish the second phase of the program, they can enter the final phase of the Cardiac Rehabilitation program by participating in a self-pay individualized exercise maintenance program. The outpatient program is housed at the TGH Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, located at 509 S. Armenia Ave.