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Even with awareness campaigns seemingly in every direction you turn, more than 60 percent of Americans are expected to experience some form of heart disease in their lifetime. If left untreated, common heart problems such as hypertension and high cholesterol can contribute significantly to the development of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading health risk in the United States today.Cardiovascular disease often lands patients in the operating room for procedures including coronary artery bypass, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), coronary angioplasty and stenting, valve replacement and pacemaker or implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD).But there may be hope after surgery. Recent studies report that patients who attend outpatient cardiac rehab following cardiac surgery can reduce their chance of a future cardiac event by 25 percent.Facilities often offer inpatient programs as the first line of defense for these patients as a means of educating about heart health and the role of diet and exercise as well as beginning closely monitored exercise plans.“A recent assessment of our patient populations identified cardiac and pulmonary issues as either the primary or the major secondary disease process directly leading to the need for rehabilitation in the majority of our patients,” said Nicole Sosa, PT, DPT, physical therapy team leader of the comprehensive rehab unit at MossRehab in Elkins Park, PA.PT at the HelmCardiac rehab provides the information, the means (equipment/monitoring), and the social support necessary to guide a patient in making new commitments and developing healthier habits, according to Kathy McEwen, PT, MS, staff level IV PT, Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia.(Read the whole story in Advance magazine here.)