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Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Helping Heart Survivor Get Back To Normal

Reported: Feb. 11, 2014 3:07 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 12, 2014 10:42 AM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) -- Ironton resident Wes Harrison seems like the picture of health.

“I had what my cardiologist described as a runner's heart,” he said.

Harrison said he would run up to five miles a day and ride a recumbent bike 30 minutes a day.

Last fall, it was just one warning sign that sent him to the doctor.

“On occasion when I would go out and jog. I would have a burning sensation in my chest," he said.

He said it felt like acid reflux, but with a family history of heart problems, he wanted to be cautious. While an EKG was clear, a heart catheterization revealed much more.

“I had three major blockages in the back of my heart, and obviously that's something that can be life-threatening," Harrison said.

Harrison had triple-bypass surgery almost immediately, and after a couple months recovery, he started at the Cardiac Rehabilitation program in the Wellness Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center.

"It's great coming here. They do a wonderful job of setting goals and try to help us achieve those goals and yet they monitor our progress every single day and I know the care that we receive here is just tremendous," Harrison said.

Harrison started in late December and is about halfway through program. He works out under the care of medical staff three days a week at the facility.

"At any point in time, there's two nurses within 10 to 15 feet of where we're at, and they do a great job of constantly monitoring what our heart's doing, while we're doing the physical exertion, so I feel confident," Harrison said.

Harrison said he has big goals to achieve through the program.

“It’s my hope that my blood pressure will lower, my heart rate will lower, thus giving me the ability to have a great physical work capacity to again go and do the things that I’ve always been able to do," he said.

He’s well on his way to his formerly active lifestyle, and encourages others to be proactive about their own health.

“If you have a history of disease, don't be afraid to get it checked out," Harrison said.

If you'd like more information about the program at St. Mary's Medical Center, find it
here.



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