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Cardiac rehab programs are “critically important”

Dr. Paul Oh and his patient on Rehab

​​​​Nathan Haymada, left, and Dr. Paul Oh discuss the importance of being active in the PMCC prevention and rehabilitation program.

A therapeutic approach builds on a unique program launched in the 1960s when doctors prescribed getting active as the key to recovering from a heart attack

In his mid-40s and working in a physically demanding job, Nathan Hamayda thought he was in pretty good shape. That was until his heart attack in 2001, a silent coronary, after which he underwent bypass surgery.

His recovery was difficult, so he didn’t take up a cardiac rehab program that was offered to him at the time.

“My job was very physically active. I was a set dresser, decorating movie and TV sets, so I was always lifting, and I felt strong. I thought it [rehab] would be a bunch of old men on treadmills,” he says wryly. “And I wasn’t having an easy time after my operation.”

Fast forward to 2014: Mr. Hamayda was at home one day, when he got that feeling again. Not pain, just a really uncomfortable foggy feeling, and he had difficulty breathing.

At age 60, he was having another attack.

“I lay down, hoping the feeling would pass,” he says. It didn’t, and he asked his landlord to take him to the hospital.