From left: Lonnie Crisp, patient from Mountain Grove; Dana Wilson, TCMH cardiac rehab director; and Dee Locke, patient from Houston.

About every 26 seconds an American will suffer a coronary event.  About every 34 seconds someone will die from cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular diseases rank as America’s No. 1 killer, and the number of cardiovascular operations and procedures continues to rise in the United States each year.  Many physicians prescribe cardiac rehabilitation for their patients following a cardiac operation or procedure.  These cardiac rehab patients are those who have had a heart attack, coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty, heart transplant, stent, angina or congestive heart failure. The program is medically supervised and aimed at improving heart health after a cardiac event.

There are three phases to cardiac rehabilitation:  Phase one is inpatient cardiac rehab, done while the patient is still in the hospital after a cardiac operation.  Phase two is outpatient cardiac rehab, prescribed by a physician.  Phase three is an independent rehab program the patient does in the cardiac rehab setting. 

Texas County Memorial Hospital provides phase two cardiac rehabilitation for area residents that need a cardiac program.  Approximately 70 patients go through cardiac rehabilitation each year at TCMH. 

Dana Wilson, RN, BSN, cardiac rehabilitation director at TCMH, sees her cardiac rehab patients Monday, Wednesday and Friday for up to 36 exercise sessions.  “The program will take one hour when the patient is at their max on every piece of equipment,” said Wilson.

The TCMH cardiac rehab includes supervised exercise training to improve endurance and strength, patient education to help change bad habits into new heart-healthy habits, and counseling on stress and other psychosocial factors.  Structured exercise improves cardiovascular health, reduces risk factors and symptoms, and improves mood.

The equipment includes a treadmill that inclines when the patient reaches their maximum; a NuStep recumbent cross trainer with Watts that increase automatically based upon output by the patient; dumbbells, and an arm ergometer that works the upper body make up the equipment a cardiac rehab patient uses in phase two. 

Benefits of the cardiac program include reducing the risk of a future cardiac event by stabilizing, slowing, or even reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease, reducing hospital readmissions, increasing exercise performance, enhancing the ability to perform daily activities, and improving health factors, such as lipids and blood pressure.

“Our program at TCMH is close to home and offers personalized exercise plans, medication monitoring and instruction, and cardiac monitoring during exercise sessions,”

dana Wilson, director

“Our program at TCMH is close to home and offers personalized exercise plans, medication monitoring and instruction, and cardiac monitoring during exercise sessions,”  Wilson said. “We also offer dietary classes with our dietitian as well as classes with our pharmacists to help the patient understand any cardiac medications.”

If you have suffered from one of the cardiac events, talk to your healthcare provider or contact the local cardiac rehabilitation program about how to get enrolled in the program. 

“Cardiac rehab can do a lot to speed your recovery and reduce your chances of future heart problems,” Wilson said.

Wilson enjoys working with her cardiac rehab patients. “We keep the program as casual as possible, so everyone feels comfortable.  We exercise in a group setting so there is a social aspect that everyone enjoys as well.  We just have fun.”

To learn more about cardiac rehab at TCMH, contact Wilson at 417-967-0408 or email at

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