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Heart and Vascular Institute – Cardiac Rehab and Wellness

Heart and Vascular Institute – Cardiac Rehab and Wellness

Our rehab team guides patients toward improved long term health. We help to successfully integrate a focus on wellness into their lives. By participating in heart focused rehabilitation at our onsite exercise center, our patients can specifically improve cardiovascular health and find a smoother path to recovery.

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Learn more about our wellness programs

The Cardiac Rehabilitation and Fit Rx Wellness Program at Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute are comprehensive programs involving medical evaluations; prescribed exercise; cardiac risk factor modification and educational and behavioral interventions. Its primary goals are to:

  • Reduce morbidity and mortality as linked to heart disease
  • Improve function and quality of life through close management of heart disease
  • Assist patients change behaviors that lead to disease progression (especially tobacco use, exercise, diet, stress management and psychological health)

Both the Cardiac Rehab and the Fit Rx programs aggressively pursue risk-factor reduction through a combination of medical therapies, behavioral changes and acceptance of personal responsibility by the patient for his/her own health.

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We serve patients at multiple convenient locations

Cardiac Rehab Program

Individuals who will benefit from enrolling in cardiac rehabilitation program include those  recovering from a heart attack, open heart surgery (coronary bypass, valve replacement or repair) heart transplant, angioplasty with stent placement; stable angina and most recently heart failure meeting specific criteria.  

The Cardiac Rehab program at the Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute is divided into three phases:

  • Phase one is the inpatient period. Cardiac Rehab is initiated early during the hospitalization in the form of education and counseling.
  • Phase two should be initiated within the first few weeks following hospital discharge. Exercise therapy is designed for the low-, moderate-, or high-risk patient as determined from a medical history, stress test, documentation of arrhythmia's and other heart functions and  health care problems. Risk factor modification, education and psychological needs are addressed during these tri-weekly sessions. Typically insurance will provide coverage for phase two program expenses. A comprehensive review of your individual insurance plan will be done by this department to ascertain your specific coverage for this program.
  • Patients are "graduated" into phase three, our maintenance program, when stable cardiovascular responses to exercise have been achieved. This phase is typically not covered by insurance programs and therefore, a convenient payment schedule can be selected by each participant. Cost is at an extremely nominal rate and each participant can select one of several convenient payment schedules.

Our Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness Programs has received national program certification through the  American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) and follow the practice guidelines as prescribed by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

We recognize that making changes is not easy at any age, but with our enthusiastic and dedicated team of health care professionals, we will work with you as you build a healthier lifestyle, increase your self-confidence and reach your own personal goals. 

Cardiac Rehab works!  For additional information please contact us at 717-531-1552 or 717-531-5028.

Our Cardiac Rehab team includes:

  • Deb McCoach, RN, ASN
  • Wendy Brockman, RN, BSN
  • Roxanne Hollen, MS
  • Shannon Pomroy, MS
  • Mike Zehner, MS, RCEP m
  • Stephanie Little, MOA

Exercise is an important aid to modifying risk factors for heart disease. The Fit Rx Program works in conjunction with the Lipid and Cardiovascular Wellness Clinic in providing an individualized fitness program for those at increased risk for heart disease.

A physician referral requesting an evaluation and exercise prescription will initiate this personalized program based on your specific needs and goals. Programs may be written for home exercising, for exercising at a local fitness center or to begin at our Cardiac Rehab & Wellness Center located in the West Campus Health and Wellness Center.

Follow-up sessions will be scheduled during return visits to the Wellness Center to update you on your program and goals. These results will be shared with your referring physician to keep them informed of your progress.

Fit Rx program evaluations

An initial evaluation will be performed during a clinic visit or at the Cardiac Rehab and Wellness Center.

  • Body Mass Index 
  • Risk Stratification
  • Waist/Hip Ratio 
  • Six-Minute Nu Step Test
  • Medical History 
  • Dietary Review

A follow-up evaluation will document results from a body mass index, waist/hip ratio, Six-Minute Nu Step Test and flexibility test. Your exercise diary will be reviewed and your goals and workloads will be adjusted. Progress is shared with your physician upon each follow-up evaluation.

Exercise sessions include:

  • Heart rate and blood pressure checks before and after exercise
  • 1:1 exercise instruction on a variety of exercise equipment
  • Weekly review and adjustments of exercise workloads

Benefits of safe and effective exercise:

  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Decrease in weight
  • Increase in strength
  • Increase in endurance
  • Higher energy/stamina levels
  • Reduces stress
  • Aids in glucose control
  • Aids in improving lipid levels bikers

Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at times that are agreed upon by patients and cardiac rehabilitation and wellness staff.

Program costs

Please call to learn about our reasonable rates. The cost of this program may be covered by your current health insurance carrier.

To learn more about how our structured fitness program can help to change your life, ask your healthcare provider for a referral to enroll you in the Fit Rx Program.

For more information or to make a referral, contact us at 717-531-1850. Or, call our toll-free 24-hour CareLine at 1-800-243-1455.

Fit Rx contacts:

  • Michael Zehner, MS, ES, RCEP
  • Roxanne Hollen, MS
  • Shannon Pomroy, MS
Penn State Health Children's Hospital
Penn State College of Medicine
Penn State Cancer Institute
Penn State University