Heart transplant patient comes back to thank UCI Medical Center staff

UCI Health cardiac rehabilitation program key to long-term recovery 

April 16, 2019
Cardiac Rehabilitation patient Roland Adams and his wife
Cardiac Rehabilitation patient Roland Adams and his wife

Last August, Roland Adams received a heart and kidney transplant at a Los Angeles-area hospital after struggling for several years with chronic heart failure. As part of his treatment, he was enrolled in a 36-week class of cardiac rehabilitation at UCI Medical Center to strengthen his heart and physical endurance.

Now eight months post-transplant, Adams, 68, is coming back to thank the physicians and staff who helped him on his journey towards a full recovery.

“Prior to my transplant, I was unable to walk 100 steps without having to stop and catch my breath,” said Adams, a resident of east Orange. “After completing cardiac rehab, I can walk for 50 minutes, and climb four or five flights of stairs without stopping.”

Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program that is recommended for anyone that has suffered a heart attack, heart failure, heart valve replacement or heart surgery. Most programs include three focus areas:

  • Physical activity: Walking on treadmill, exercise bike, rowing machine, yoga, weights, and light jogging. Participants are connected to a heart monitoring device, while nurses watch their vital signs as they are actively exercising.
  • Lifestyle education: Current health conditions and medications are managed weekly by trained staff. Education about healthy eating and nutrition are also offered to participants, as well as weight-loss and smoking cessation programs.
  • Support: Many participants struggle to come to terms with their health condition. Staff helps them make necessary adjustments to their diet, personal life, and medication.

“Over the long-term, patients that complete cardiac rehab have better outcomes physically,” said UCI Health cardiologist Dr. Shaista Malik. “Our goal at the end of the program is to not only strengthen the heart muscle, but empower our patients to feel safe in returning to exercise and their daily habits and life."

Cardiac rehabilitation helps patients:

  • Build cardiac and physical strength
  • Reduce the rate of secondary hospitalizations
  • Decrease the risk of coronary artery disease and other heart conditions
  • Manage stress and reduce unhealthy lifestyle habits

“I’m a proud graduate of the program,” said Adams. “Cardiac rehab is so important, and now I have the nutritional information I need and a personal exercise plan going forward.”

The heart specialists at our UCI Health Cardiovascular Center are leaders in Orange County and the region at diagnosing and treating patients with all types of heart conditions and diseases. For more information, visit the Cardiac Rehabilitation page or call: 714-456-6699.

UCI Health comprises the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. The 417-bed acute care hospital provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, and behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.