Specialists lead Bristol Hospital forum

TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Members of the Bristol Hospital Multi-Specialty Group cardiology department hosted the President’s Forum on Tuesday, Feb. 12, to discuss American Heart Month and the Bernie Guida Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center.

“A cardiac and pulmonary rehab center is a clinical refuge,” Cardiologist Dr. Fawad Kazi explained, “it is a stepping stone for patients who have been diagnosed with a certain cardiac or pulmonary condition to get back into normal life, and that is a tremendous undertaking.”

Kazi said the true purpose of cardiac pulmonary rehab is to provide “a dimension of clinical refuge for these patients where they utilize a multifaceted approach of lifting back into normal life.”

Cardiac and pulmonary rehab is based in exercise. Kazi said the exercise is begun at a specific intensity and frequency appropriate for each individual patient, and is gradually increased while being monitored by the rehabilitation center staff.

The exercise foundation is supplemented by education, such as nutritional counseling. Kazi said that through this process, patients “start to see a modification in their existing risk factors, whether it be high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol.”

Ann Robinson, lead registered nurse in the Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center, explained patients will begin their cardiac rehab two to four weeks after a cardiac event, with the goal of reaching “the highest goal of physical, social, and emotional wellbeing compatible with their physical ability.”

Julie Serrano, clinical coordinator with the center, said that in 2017 62 patients graduated from the BGCPRC. In 2018, the program saw 61 graduates. Robinson said t patients range in age from 24 to 94.

“Each class has its own unique vibe and comrady,” said Robinson. “They really have a great concern for each other. They form these friendships and social supports, and that’s very important in their healing process.”

“Our cardiac pulmonary rehab program has really been one of the strengths of this hospital, connecting the community to us,” said Kurt Barwis, president and CEO of Bristol Hospital.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.