• Eisenhower Auxiliary’s...
    Eisenhower Medical Center Auxiliary’s annual fund-raising dinner dance is scheduled for Saturday, December 7 at 6 p.m. at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage.

    Meet the residents and celebrate Eisenhower’s commitment to elevating medical diagnostics to the digital era. Proceeds will be directed to the acquisition of state-of-the-art hand-held ultrasound devices and other diagnostic equipment for Eisenhower’s inaugural class of residents and faculty in the School of Graduate Medical Education. click for more

  • Oak Glen Ripe for the ...
    Sometimes it seems like summer never wants to leave the desert. On those dog days of fall, while heat still clings to the Coachella Valley, the mile-high climate of Oak Glen provides the perfect backdrop for autumn family fun.

    An easy, hour-long drive from Palm Springs, Oak Glen is a 15 square-mile hamlet of soft hills, orchards and farms. Because Oak Glen is 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the desert, the air is as crisp and cool as a green apple, often laced with the scent of a cozy fire. This is where trees try on the new fall fashions, displaying brilliant leaves of blazing orange, crimson and gold. click for more

  • 5 THINGS
    1 . Get a Massage - Treat your body to a relaxing or therapeutic massage. Invite your spouse or a friend to join you at the spa.

    2 . Read a New Author - Peruse The New York Times Book Review and find some authors you’ve never read.

    3. Skip Dessert All Week - Muster your willpower and ignore your sweet tooth until Sunday — then savor every bite of a special dessert.

    4. Watch a Documentary - Scan your movie provider and choose an interesting documentary. You might learn something new!

    5. Write a Sweet Note - Write a short, kind note and leave it for a loved one to find. You’ll probably “make their day.”

  • Eisenhower Named Most ...
    For the second consecutive year, Eisenhower Medical Center has been recognized as one of the nation’s “Most Wired” health care facilities, according to the results of the 2013 Most Wired Survey released in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine. Eisenhower is the first and only hospital in the Coachella Valley to receive the recognition. click for more
  • Eisenhower Named Leade...
    Eisenhower Medical Center has been recognized as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality in the Healthcare Equality Index 2013, an annual survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation,... click for more
  • Eisenhower Joins Ameri...
    Eisenhower Medical Center is joining the American Cancer Society for their landmark Cancer Prevention Study-3. The Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) is a grassroots effort where local communities can... click for more
  • Figue - Savoring Medit...
    New Mediterranean eatery Figue (rhymes with league), located in La Quinta, is the vision of a passionate owner and an equally enthralled chef who was completely taken by the enthusiasm of his future employer. “The mission statement Lee Morcus posted when advertising for a chef was unlike any mission statement I’d ever read,” says Executive Chef Francois de Mélogue. “I was like the secretary in the Tom Cruise movie Jerry McGuire, who grabbed the goldfish and went with him. I was responding to what his energy was, and I knew what my experience could bring to the table.” click for more

Hearts Rehab

Cardiac Rehabilitation Gets Heart Patients Back to Their Lives

Michelle Tinkham, a cardiac pulmonary rehabilitation nurse at the Eisenhower Renker Wellness Center, works with Michael Appelhans, General Counsel, Eisenhower Medical Center.
Michelle Tinkham, a cardiac pulmonary rehabilitation nurse at the Eisenhower Renker Wellness Center, works with Michael Appelhans, General Counsel, Eisenhower Medical Center.
If you’ve had any type of intervention to treat heart disease — a stent placed to open a blocked artery, bypass surgery, an operation to fix a valve problem, even a heart transplant — cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) plays an essential role in reclaiming your health and your life.

“Cardiac rehab is all about wellness,” explains Michelle Tinkham, RN, BSN, MS, PHN, CNOR, CLNC, RNFA, a cardiac pulmonary rehabilitation nurse at the Eisenhower Renker Wellness Center. “While the program includes medically supervised exercise to help patients improve their physical and cardiovascular strength and endurance, it also focuses on helping patients achieve individual lifestyle goals.”

“Many people with heart disease have had to give up certain activities after they had surgery,” says Tinkham. “Still others may have given up physical activities long before they underwent stent placement or bypass surgery because exertion brought on chest pain (angina). Or a sedentary lifestyle is what contributed to their heart problems to begin with. Regardless, these patients need to ‘recondition’ their cardiovascular fitness in order to resume — or start — activities they enjoy, prevent future heart issues and live as long and healthily as possible.”

“The program also places a great deal of emphasis on education,” says Tinkham. “We help individuals understand why they developed heart disease in the first place, and fix the reasons that contributed to the problem that are within their control, like diet and stress management.”

How, exactly, does cardiac rehab work? “Each patient undergoes an evaluation, including a six-minute walking test, to determine their current fitness level,” explains Tinkham. “We also set goals at this first visit, which we review at the end of the program.”

“It’s important for the individual to tell us what they want to achieve,” she notes. “We can say what we’d like to see happen, but if it’s not important to the patient, they won’t embrace and commit to it. Here in the desert, getting back to playing golf is a frequent goal.”

The cardiac rehab program includes eight-to-12 weeks of aerobic exercise and weight-training sessions held three times a week. This exercise component is individualized based on each participant’s condition and goals. Specially trained nurses carefully monitor each participant’s heart rate with a four-lead EKG during every session.

“No local gym or fitness center has this capability for monitoring each person’s heart,” says Tinkham.

Michael Appelhans, General Counsel, who has had  open-heart surgery, agrees.

“The rehab nurses are just outstanding,” says Appelhans. “They monitor you closely and also encourage you. They do a really good job.”

Importantly, the program also includes bi-monthly educational sessions that address heart disease risk factors, medication management, nutrition and stress management.

“Cardiac rehab is much more than just working out,” Tinkham stresses. “We’re trying to help participants rehab their entire lifestyle and teach them to be healthier in all aspects of their lives, to heal from what happened and prevent further problems.”

And it works. Research shows that patients who complete 36 sessions of cardiac rehab have a 47 percent reduction in the risk of death of any cause, and a 31 percent risk reduction for a heart attack in the subsequent four years, compared with those who complete just one session.

But that’s not all. “Many patients, when they first come in, feel very depressed, afraid that they’re going to die and there’s nothing they can do about it,” says Tinkham. “But when they go through the program and see how much better they feel and how their ability to function has improved, their confidence is so much higher.”

More good news: cardiac rehab is covered by Medicare and private insurers. To be eligible for coverage, you must be diagnosed with coronary artery disease (CAD) and have had some sort of intervention to treat it (such as angioplasty and/or stent placement within the past six months or open-heart bypass surgery within the past year). Patients who have had a heart attack within the past year, have undergone a heart transplant, or who have a heart valve disorder also are eligible. A physician referral is required.

“The vast majority of our patients see improvement,” notes Tinkham. “Mike was younger (61) to begin with, but he had risk factors like high blood pressure and a lot of stress that the program helped him get more under control.”

“The most important thing is to just do it,” adds Tinkham.