Monday, February 11, 2008


The first time 83-year-old Patrick Ciandella of Sharpsburg entered a hospital he underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery. After a routine heart catheterization, doctors found six areas blocked in his heart and they rushed him for surgery. The surgery was successful, but because of his age, doctors feared his recovery would be long and require a rigorous rehabilitation program. He would have to rely on his wife, Rose, and the staff at Piedmont Fayette Hospital for his most basic needs, putting a tremendous strain on everyone involved.

“2007 was such a blur for our family,” said Rose Ciandella, Patrick’s wife of 55 years. “The surgery was a rude-awakening for us, because we had no idea how strenuous the recovery process was going to be. As soon as Patrick seemed to be doing better, he would end up back in the hospital for days at a time. We would not have gotten through it all without the friendly staff at Piedmont Fayette and the camaraderie we felt with the other heart patients.”

Cardiac Rehabilitation Week is February 10-16, and Piedmont Fayette Hospital is celebrating by recognizing its cardiac rehabilitation staff and all that it does for patients like Patrick. Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program to help heart patients recover quickly and improve their overall physical, mental and social functioning.

"The goal of cardiac rehabilitation is to stabilize, slow or reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease," said Donna L. Callahan, B.S. clinical lead exercise physiologist, cardiac rehabilitation services at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. "Our staff is trained to work with the patients and their families to deliver appropriate care and to produce the best outcomes."

The Ciandella's began attending PFH’s “Healthy Heart” and Cardiac Rehab classes as a part of Patrick’s rehabilitation program. According to Rose, the exercise classes were the most significant resource in Patrick’s physical and emotional recovery, because the staff carefully monitored his progress and gave him the inspiration to walk again. For Rose, attending the classes taught her to carefully read food labels and prepare nutritional meals for herself and her husband. Today, Patrick is in phase III of the cardiac rehabilitation program at PFH and on his way to a full recovery.

“Patrick is the only person I know who actually enjoys rehab,” said Rose. “He looks forward to every Tuesday and Friday when we get to go to Piedmont Fayette Hospital for his cardiac rehabilitation sessions, and we will probably continue attending the classes even when he finishes phase III of treatment.”

Piedmont Fayette Hospital offers a cardiac rehabilitation program which includes monitored exercise sessions and patient education services. Physician referral is required for the cardiac rehabilitation program. For more information about PFH's cardiac rehabilitation services, call 770-719-7095. To learn more about Piedmont Fayette Hospital, visit

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