Clark Resident Sets Record for Cardiac Rehabilitation

RAHWAY – For the past 14 years, Clark Resident Walter O’Brien has spent one hour three times a week at the cardiac rehabilitation program at the Nicholas Quadrel Healthy Heart Center for Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation. His loyal participation earned him a special distinction: the first to log 1,500 hours at the center.

“This is such a good program,” O’Brien said as he received a special recognition at the program’s 19th annual pinning ceremony for rehabilitation center graduates. “The nurses are so great. They make me want to come back.”

At a special ceremony on April 16, 43 residents of Union and Middlesex counties received pins commemorating their completion of 36 hours of cardiac rehabilitation, a program of supervised strength and stamina exercises, smoking cessation, nutritional counseling and support for people with heart disease.

The program has grown so popular that many go beyond their 36 sessions. Earline Daniels of Linden was recognized for completing 1,000 hours of cardiac rehab. “I’m here today because of this,” said Daniels who had triple bypass surgery in 1999. Linden resident Connie Cifello, Carol Higgins of Colonia, and Susan Walushen of Plainfield completed 500 hours.

Studies have shown that cardiac rehab builds stamina and significantly reduces the risk of new cardiac events, yet cardiac rehab programs are underutilized in the United States.

Robert Wood Rahway’s cardiac rehab program began in 1988 with the support of cardiologist Michael Chen, MD, and Nicholas Quadrel, a member of the hospital’s board of governors and a founder of the Rahway branch of the American Heart Association. It was named posthumously for Quadrel in 1993.

Walter O’Brien of Clark completed 1,500 hours of cardiac rehabilitation, setting a new record for the Nicholas Quadrel Healthy Heart Center for Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at Robert Wood Johnson at Rahway. Earline Daniels of Linden completed 1,000 hours. Both were honored at the center’s 19th annual pinning ceremony honoring graduates of the cardiac rehab program.

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