New cardiac rehabilitation service gives patients a second chance

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A new cardiac rehabilitation service has opened in Queensland to help patients recover from a cardiac event.

Torquay resident David Whiteman was the first patient treated through St Stephen’s Hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation service, after he underwent a cardiac procedure that involved the insertion of a stent to restore blood flow to a blocked artery in his heart.

Mr Whiteman said he initially didn’t realise the severity of his condition but is grateful he has been given a second chance and can access ongoing support at St Stephen's to regain and enhance his strength and quality of life.

“I think this program is a really important part of my recovery and the convenience of being able to access a quality service so close to home is fantastic.

“I’m actually quite chuffed to be the first patient to use the service and think it’s important for others to know that it is now available locally,” Mr Whiteman said.

The program consists of 12 sessions, two days a week for six weeks, delivered by a multi-disciplinary team consisting of a dietician, pharmacist, occupational therapist, exercise physiologist or nurse.

St Stephen’s Hospital Cardiologist, Dr Harendra Wijesekera said he sees cardiac rehabilitation as a central part of a person’s recovery from a heart attack, heart surgery or other cardiac event.

“It’s important the cardiac rehabilitation process begins as soon as possible after a cardiac episode is experienced as patients benefit from the education components of the program as well the individualised exercise program which helps re-build their strength and conditioning.

“The population here on the Fraser Coast is growing fast so I believe having this new service to meet local demand is a great for our entire community,” Dr Wijesakera said.

Mr Whiteman is looking forward to completing the program and making a full recovery and returning to his work as a mechanic and enjoying his beloved walks along Hervey Bay’s beautiful esplanade.

“I only wish it was a standard gym so I could continue attending and accessing the support and advice on an ongoing basis,” he said.

Patients wishing to access this service must have a referral from a general practitioner.

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