Tuesday, January 19, 2021

(Courtesy of St. Mary’s General Hospital) As defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)1, cardiac rehabilitation2 is a medically supervised program for people who have had a heart attack, heart failure, heart valve surgery or coronary artery bypass grafting.

Cardiac rehab involves adopting heart-healthy lifestyle changes including exercise training, education on heart-healthy living, and counseling to reduce stress and help you return to an active life. Cardiac rehab can improve your health and quality of life, reduce the need for medicines to treat heart or chest pain, decrease the chance you will go back to a hospital or emergency room for a heart problem, prevent future heart problems, and even help you live longer.

The cardiac rehab team at St. Mary’s General Hospital includes doctors, nurses, exercise specialists, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians and nutritionists, and mental health specialists who will design a program to meet your needs. Before starting your program, the rehab team will take your medical history, do a physical exam, and perform tests in order to design your personal program.


The cardiac rehabilitation program is a comprehensive program dedicated to safely restore and help patients maintain their optimal state of health through a progressive program of exercise, education and diet. The goal is to help you return to an active life, and to reduce the risk of further heart problems. The length of time that you spend in cardiac rehab depends on your condition. Medicare and most insurance plans cover a standard cardiac rehab program that includes 36 supervised sessions over 12 weeks.

As a state-designated heart center & STEMI program, St. Mary’s General Hospital is equipped to treat patients with a heart problem. In addition, for 2021, St. Mary’s General was a recipient of Healthgrades five-star awards for Treatment of Heart Failure and for Coronary Interventional Procedures.

“Our history dating back over a century includes Passaic General Hospital, one of the three hospitals that make up St. Mary’s General, whose specialty was cardiology,” said George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison for the frum community. “They were renowned for the Eastern Heart Institute and for pioneering the first open-heart surgery in the state!”

Obviously, with the excellent services available to treat heart patients, it’s only natural that we would have the best rehab services also. We have been designated a Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI by The American College of Cardiology, which means we have Primary PCI available 24/7 every day of the year. This is a call team made up of the cardiac catheterization (cath) lab staff and an interventional cardiologist who arrive at the facility within 30 minutes of STEMI activation.

Our rehab center offers clinical and research-based treatment used to help a patient return to their normal level of movement with little to no pain, through the use of therapeutic exercise, manual treatment and application of modalities. And we offer convenient scheduling and free valet parking.

PERSONAL NOTE: “On a personal note, my wife Phyllis and I have all the faith in St. Mary’s General Hospital,” said Matyjewicz. “She underwent double bypass open heart surgery with Dr. Vinay (Avi) Tak this past year! In her own words: ‘B”H I am grateful that I am here today. Had I not pursued this, I could have had a fatal heart attack! I cannot say enough about the excellent care I received at St Mary’s—with the surgery and with the cardiac rehab. The rehab staff was wonderful and because of them I am back to normal today!

For cardiac rehab information, or to schedule an appointment, please call 973-365-4336.

St. Mary’s General Hospital—nationally recognized, locally preferred—is among the top hospitals in America for health, quality and patient safety! The hospital has over 550 physicians and 1,200 employees, with every staff member committed to providing respectful, personalized, high-quality care—to satisfy patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has won more Patient Safety Excellence Awards for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country including a “Top 15 Healthcare System” by Truven Health Analytics. To learn more about St. Mary’s General Hospital visit https://www.smh-nj.com/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.

For more information, please contact George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison at [email protected]

1 The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency—making important discoveries that improve health and save lives.

2 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/cardiac-rehabilitation