Cardiac rehabilitation a game-changer for jet mechanic

Heart Health

by Baylor Scott & White Health

Jul 8, 2015

Dressed in military fatigues and wearing his 46-pound pack, David Long looked a little out of place on the third floor of the Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center. But David fits the industrial athlete cardiac rehab program perfectly.

Serving both overseas and in the U.S., David has spent nearly 17 years of his career repairing jet engines as a jet mechanic in the U.S. Air Force.

After a recent heart surgery to correct issues with both his aortic and mitral valves, he was directed to Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart & Vascular Hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation program.

His current goal in cardiac rehab? To complete a treadmill stress test while carrying his pack. After heart surgery, David is required to demonstrate his physical ability in order to return to his military job as part of jet engine mechanic team. His position requires heavy lifting.

Jenny Adams, PhD, an exercise physiologist who leads the Return to Work Lab™, guides David through his stress test.

“When I first joined the cardiac rehab team, I couldn’t figure out why we gave the same exercises to a physically active patient as we gave to an 80-year-old woman whose exercise goal was to walk around her neighborhood,” explains Jenny.

As a former coach, Jenny understands the need for training programs to be individualized. Over time, she conducted research studies with healthy fireman, policeman, farmers and auto technicians to develop baseline physiological measures such as heart rate, oxygen saturation and blood pressure while these healthy study participants performed their jobs.

When a physically active person like David comes into the cardiac rehab program, Jenny knows how to help this patient achieve healthy baseline measures, enabling them to return to their physically active job or lifestyle.

Since Jenny began the industrial athlete program in 2005, she and her team have worked with hundreds of policeman, firefighters, and athletes, including cyclists, scuba diving instructors and even an amateur competitive parachute diver.

The goal of Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital’s ‘Return to Work Lab™’ is to do exactly that: Restore individuals ability to return to the work they love, no matter how strenuous.

For additional cardiac rehabilitation success stories and to learn more about the Return to Work Lab™, visit our website.

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