A Step-By-Step Approach to Recovery

Sometimes the best way to say thank you is with a small gesture.

For Jim Oliphant and his wife Barbara, of Kennerdell, PA, their thank-you gesture was delivered to the staff at the UPMC Cardiac Rehabilitation Department in the form of a homemade pumpkin roll. That is just how we do things, Jim says.

Jim credits the new exercise equipment he used – and his tenacious cardiac rehab team – for his recovery from his second heart attack in April at age 72.

A NuStep TR4 Seated Stepper, a key piece of equipment in Jim’s recovery, was made possible by a generous donation from the Northwest Hospital Foundation. Jim liked the machine, which replaced a 30-year-old stationary bicycle, not only because it helped his overall recovery; it also was not hard on his knees.

“They took excellent care of me. I credit my results to their persistence and them knowing the right equipment for me to use,“ said Olipant. “I am a person that likes to push myself. They say slow, and I go faster. They allowed me to safely push myself. The NuStep was smooth on my knees.”

The NuStep TR4 Seated Stepper simulates the motion of walking, delivering a low-impact, total-body workout. The cardiac rehab staff uses the equipment for patients with diagnoses such as heart attack, bypass surgery, angioplasty, stents, heart valve repair or replacement, congestive heart failure, heart/lung transplant, or stable angina. The NuStep is one of several improvements to the department made possible by the Foundation.

“The NuStep has been invaluable to our patients as it’s easily tolerated by patients of all abilities. It has been used by one of our youngest patients who was 19 years old, as well as by patients well into their 80s and all ages in between. We have patients who have knee, back, hip, or balance issues who do not tolerate any of the other equipment we have but can exercise for 30 minutes on the NuStep. We really appreciate the Foundation supporting our program and benefitting our patients,” said Pam Steiner, Senior Professional RN, Cardiac Rehab.

Jim’s scheduled 12 weeks of cardiac rehab stretched over more than five months, due in part to two delays. When Jim first started cardiac rehab the staff noted he was having arrhythmias (or irregular heart rhythms). They alerted his cardiologist, and his rehab was put on hold while he had additional testing and interventions. He then had his therapy delayed for eight weeks while he recovered from COVID.

“I had to stop the cardiac rehab after they did the second procedure and while I had COVID. After all that, I went back to use the equipment and I was right where I had left off. I had not lost any of my progress. The staff and the equipment were amazing,”

Jim’s last cardiac rehab session was the day before Thanksgiving, so he and Barbara will enjoy the holidays full of family trips and celebrations.

For information about the Northwest Hospital Foundation and how you can help support the cardiac rehab program, please email Theresa Edder, executive director, at edderta2@upmc.edu or call 814-676- 7145.



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