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Why Cardiac Rehab is So Vital to Recovery

February 10, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Along with Valentine's Day, February marks American Heart Month. This year, doctors want to emphasize the importance of cardiac rehab in the recovery process, and how a lot of the road to wellness is in the hands of the patient.

A perfect example of this is Larry Baca, who has had multiple sclerosis since he was in his 20s. Now decades later, he's a successful accountant, who works from his wheelchair in a downtown firm.

Several years ago, Larry suffered a heart attack and needed several weeks to recover. Part of his recovery included physical therapy, but because of his wheelchair he couldn't find a program that could accommodate him. Then his wife called the cardiac rehab center at The University of Kansas Health System's Center for Advanced Heart Care. Eric Larson, the program manager, told him to come on in and they would find a way to help. Eric jury-rigged a device to one of the exercise machines that helped keep Larry's leg in place while he worked out.

A local group called Golfology fore Cardiology heard about Larry's situation and wanted to help. Through a fundraising golf tournament they were able to donate thousands of dollars to buy a special exercise machine designed specifically to help patients like Larry keep their legs in sync with the machine during the workout.

Thanks to his 3-times-a-week rehab sessions, Larry is feeling like new. He has even been able to return to doing one of his favorite activities: skiing in Colorado with a special adapter for his wheelchair.

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