Cardiac rehabilitation regimen helps man, 52, become fitter and athletic

He completed a 42-km full marathon nearly 20 months after an angioplasty

Updated - January 05, 2021 03:45 am IST

Published - January 04, 2021 11:02 pm IST - CHENNAI

Able and agile:  R. Satyamurthy, second from left, with CMC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Services team.

Able and agile: R. Satyamurthy, second from left, with CMC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Services team.

Nearly 20 months after he suffered a heart attack and underwent angioplasty, 52-year-old R. Satyamurthy completed a 42 km full marathon in the city on Sunday.

Cardiac rehabilitation helped the Vellore resident’s life return to normalcy and take up physical activities he had not attempted before.

After undergoing angioplasty in April 2019 at the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, Mr. Satyamurthy joined the hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation services.

“The common assumption is that post-angioplasty, patients may experience difficulty in walking. My friends and relatives said I should not ride a two-wheeler and should not speak much. But it was actually the opposite. I slowly took to walking and running. In fact, prior to this, I wasn’t very athletic. I managed to complete the target activities in seven to eight months,” Mr. Satyamurthy said.

Till date, he has taken part in nine to 10 marathon events. In the 2020 Chennai marathon, he was part of the team from the CMC cardiac rehab group and participated in the 21 km category.

On Sunday, he took part in the 2021 Chennai marathon and completed a 42 km full marathon, according to a press release.

“First of all, cardiac rehabilitation takes away the fear of getting back to normalcy as early as possible. It has also been shown to improve the functioning (ejection fraction) of the heart on a long-term basis. Functional capacity improves with structured rehabilitation programmes,” said Oommen K. George, professor and head, Cardiology, CMC.

The cardiac rehabilitation programme was started in December 2017. “Our cardiac rehabilitation is built on new evidence that if we start a physician-supervised exercise programme as early as possible, potential for recovery is very high. In our rehab, we start working with patients within a week after they have their heart attack and start them on exercises for three to six months. There is an increase in the heart’s pumping capacity to near normal to even higher than normal levels,” said Muralidhar Babi, cardiac rehabilitation medicine specialist, CMC.

Post rehabilitation, the patients become part of a running club and actively run together on a daily basis, he said.

CMC’s cardiac rehabilitation team consists of physicians, physiotherapists, nurses, nutritionists and counsellors. “If there is no such rehabilitation programme, patients usually tend to be sedentary and avoid all kinds of physical activity out of fear. This is rather detrimental to the heart in the long term,” he added.

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