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Cardiac rehab can be a long and painful process after bypass surgery, but a new technique for recovery is reducing time in the hospital and improving outcomes.
Last August, 51-year-old Bobby Brackens had open heart surgery and a quadruple bypass, which required doctors to “crack” his sternum.
“Yes, there was lots of pain. Of course, they give you pain medication, but as far as moving around, you weren’t able to move, move kind of gingerly because of the pain,” said Bobby Brackens.
Bobby recovered in three weeks, faster than the usual four to six, because of a new cardiac rehab philosophy called “keep your move in the tube.”
Jenny Adams, PhD, Exercise Physiologist, Baylor Scott and White Heart and Vascular Hospital said, “It’s an imaginary tube, around your arms, and you just imagine walking around like a T-Rex dinosaur. You can do anything you want is my advice now, as long as you keep your move in the tube.”
The idea is not to put stress on the wires that are used to hold the sternum together while it heals.
By keeping the move in the tube, some cardiac patients can lift a lot more than the old recommendation of nothing more than five pounds. And by going home sooner, they improve their chances of healthy living for as long as 10 to 15 years.
Adams said, “So going home saves lives.”
Bobby Brackens said, “It’s a great idea. It’s a great idea. Like I say it puts you on the road to recovery a lot faster.”
In the initial study done at memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, 80 percent of the 500 patients who got the tube training went home earlier than expected, double the percentage who didn’t.
And Adams says going home gives the patient a much higher chance of being alive a year later.