UnityPoint Health-Trinity honors cardiac rehab patients

UnityPoint Health-Trinity recently honored three patients who have overcome heart events and the cardiac rehab program that helped the patients.

The four-year anniversary of the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the UnityPoint Health Trinity Heart Center was at center stage during a ceremony Thursday, April 21, at the hospital’s Cardiac Nutrition Center in Rock Island.

In addition to highlighting the program’s success in helping patients recover and stay healthy, the event honored the inaugural Cardiac Rehab Patients of the Year. The 2021 honorees were: Randy Frick, Anna McKay and Paula Ploen.

The rehab program teaches patients how to foster an overall healthy lifestyle through a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise and a healthy mindset. UnityPoint-Trinity has the first Pritikin Certified Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation program in the Quad Cities region and only one of two programs offered in Illinois.

“Every person who walks through that door is an inspiration – or hope – to others who may be worried about where to start after a heart health scare,” said Dan Saskowski, manager of Trinity’s Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab Program. “We’re here to reassure you and take the guess work out of how best to build the tools and habits you need to transform your health and life.”

UnityPoint Health-Trinity provided this information on the Pritikin Cardiac Rehab Patients of the Year:

  • Randy Frick of Aledo, Illinois, was referred by his cardiologist after suffering a heart attack in November. He was very weak and struggled to walk without becoming short of breath. Mr. Frick used the knowledge he gained in the program to change his exercise and diet habits. He lost 20 pounds and attained ideal target blood pressure. He continues to improve and credits the guidance from the staff for pushing him and giving him the confidence to do more.
  • Anna McKay of Moline was referred to the program by her cardiac surgeon after a heart valve replacement in September. Initially, she had to deal with restrictions while recovering from surgery, but she quickly progressed to working hard on the treadmill. At graduation from the program, she had lost 10 pounds, improved her blood pressure to ideal target levels and increased her fitness level by 65%. Ms. McKay introduced the healthy lifestyle to her family members. The nutritional changes improved the health of her family members.
  • Paula Ploen of Rock Island was referred to the program in December after having multiple stents inserted into her heart. When she began the program, Ms. Ploen struggled to exercise for as little as eight minutes. She can now exercise for more than 45 minutes and has dramatically increased her energy levels. Upon graduation from the program in March, Ms. Ploen had lost 11 pounds, improved her blood pressure to ideal levels and increased her exercise capacity by more than 50%. 

“We’re so blessed to walk beside people who are making tremendous strides toward a healthier heart,” said Kathy Pulley, director of cardiology services. “As the only intensive cardiac rehab program in the area, we’re honored those patients trust Trinity with their care.”

Since 2018, UnityPoint Health-Trinity has served about 1,200 patients through the program.

To learn more about the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab program at UnityPoint Health-Trinity, go to unitypoint.org or call (309) 779-5340.

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