Fairview Ridges Cardiac Rehab Center Gives Patients Opportunities to Get Fit

After 30 therapy sessions, Gene thought he was ready to enter Fairview’s Wellness and Exercise for Life (WEL) Program but, before he could begin, he suffered a second heart attack.

When Gene Delvaux suffered a heart attack in 2013, he was rushed to Fairview Southdale Hospital for emergency quadruple-bypass surgery.

After 30 therapy sessions, Gene thought he was ready to enter Fairview’s Wellness and Exercise for Life (WEL) Program but, before he could begin, he suffered a second heart attack.

Then another.

And another.

In just a few months, Gene had suffered four heart attacks.

When he was finally ready to enter the WEL Program again, he says he knew he would have to take his health and well-being into his own hands.

“I was extremely overweight when I entered [the WEL] Program,” he says. “Since I’ve been working out here, I’ve lost 30 pounds.”

The WEL Program is the third phase in our cardiac rehabilitation process. While the first two phases focus on hospital care and outpatient therapy, the WEL Program is designed to help patients exercise on their own and return to normal daily activities.

As part of the WEL Program, Gene works out three days a week at the Fairview Ridges Cardiac Rehabilitation Center located in the new Ridges Specialty Care Center —a gym for patients that offers exercise equipment like stationary bikes, treadmills, free weights and strength-training machines.

“It has everything I think most people would need to stay in shape,” Gene says. “It compares favorably with any commercial gym I’ve ever been too.”

The Cardiac Rehab Center is just one unit within the new Fairview Ridges Specialty Care Center, which is also home to University of Minnesota Cancer and Heart Care and more, to help meet the needs of a growing community.

Heart attack survivor Gene Delvaux says the Fairview Ridges Cardiac Rehab Center, located within the Ridges Specialty Care Center, has had a “tremendous impact on my life.”

The largest specialty care center in the Minnesota River Valley, the center aims to provide all specialty care services in one convenient place.

At the center, cardiac rehab therapists offer exercise guidance and help patients design workout programs. They also offer to check patients’ blood pressure and heart rates when needed.

“The people here are wonderful,” Gene says. “I think that’s what separates this place from other gyms—it’s the people.”

Gene’s usual workout consists of a two-mile ride on a stationary bike followed by a three-mile walk on a treadmill. The routine has given Gene the results he wants, and he says he enjoys the camaraderie with the other patients who exercise there.

Gene even recommended his sister come to the rehab center to work out, even though she doesn’t suffer from heart problems.

“This is a place where anyone could come to exercise, even if they don’t have heart trouble,” Gene says. “It’s had a tremendous impact on my life, and I don’t see a time where I’d quit.”

University of Minnesota Heart Care offers a comprehensive range of cardiovascular services, including cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, advanced heart failure care, congenital heart disease, preventive cardiology, pulmonary hypertension and diagnosis and treatment of women’s heart disease delivered at clinics and hospitals throughout the system. 

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