Monday, January 18, 2010

Steve Graduates from Cardiac Rehab

Congratulations, Steve, on the completion of the Swedish Medical Center Cardiac Rehab Program!

Starting from a weakened baseline following a complicated kidney transplant, explantation, return to dialysis, and a protracted recovery, Steve made it through another obstacle.

In cardiac rehab, Steve did both aerobic exercise and weight training -- all while being monitored by telemetry to catch any concerning heart rhythms. He progressed from the little Barbie-pink weights up to "Big Boy" weights. This, from a man who used to leg-press six hundred pounds!

But it's a great start. Now, with the confidence to continue, Steve will work out in a gym closer to home. And hopefully, if he can continue his current path, it will enhance the chances of a positive outcome with the next transplant.

There were probably about eight other folks is Steve's rehab class. The range of abilities ran from one man who executed the arm motions with no additional weight -- all the way to  a well-muscled man who might have been fifty at best. This was a guy for whom some cardiac stent had probably come as a nuisance -- an interruption -- in an already active life.

But there was no question that everyone there had a story...lives complicated by heart disease, and lives which required reframing and regrouping after the heart disease became apparent.

People with End Stage Renal Disease have a high incidence of heart disease.

I read in the latest blog from the Renal Fellows Network that one study showed that  over 80% of diabetics with ESRD had angiographically significant coronary disease, and over 50% of the non-diabetics with ESRD had it as well.

We believe that exercise - done prudently - enhances cardiovascular health in nearly all patients. Of course there are exceptions, but the ESRD population stands to gain from the many benefits of exercise.

So, good for you, Steve. We'll see you press that six hundred pounds yet!

Take care. Linda Gromko, MD

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