Two children walking to school
Cardiac Rehabilitation alum, Charles Vavrina, credits the program for the confidence to continue to push himself to achieve his full potential.

Retired Army Warrant Officer James Lozinski, who kept himself fit, thought he had a healthy heart. But in 2010 he needed a stent inserted into an artery to open a narrowing vessel. After completing a cardiac rehabilitation program, he admits to returning to unhealthy eating habits. In September 2016, he had a heart attack.

“My cardiologist, H. Michael Bolooki, M.D., recommended I try the cardiac rehabilitation program offered by Lee Health,” James says. “I firmly believe if I had participated in this specific program earlier, I may not have had the heart attack. The program is excellent.”

Rosa Godoy, a cardiac rehabilitation exercise physiologist, began working with James in mid-October of 2016. “Two months into the cardiac program, James participated in the annual 5k American Heart Association Lee County Heart Walk,” Rosa says. “Our program’s expectation is to increase a person’s metabolic equivalent of task (METs) by at least 40 percent. James has increased his by 125 percent.”

METs is a way to measure the amount of energy your body requires to perform a physical activity, and higher METs relates to developing increased endurance. Now, James is 20 pounds lighter, eats less fried foods, walks five days a week and participates in phase III cardiac rehabilitation maintenance program twice weekly.

In October of 2016, Charles Vavrina knew it was time to get serious about his cardiac health when he experienced his first bout of chest pain while vacationing in the mountains of Georgia. “Within six weeks I was undergoing cardiac artery bypass surgery to correct eight blockages in five arteries,” he says.

Like James, Charles fully committed to the program and attended cardiac rehabilitation sessions three days a week, an hour each day. Charles also has increased his METs significantly (161 percent).

“Two weeks ago, I ascended that same hill that caused my chest pain with no more exertion than a hard day on the treadmill,” Charles says. “I credit the cardiac rehabilitation team who gave me the confidence to continue to push myself to achieve my full potential within the program.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program: 239-343-5720 or 239-424-2396

Call to learn more about the cardiac rehabilitation program and how it can benefit you after a heart event. Ask your physician for a referral.

Tags: Cardiology, Cardiac Rehabilitation program, heart care