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FirstHealth Opens Cardiac Rehab Program in Montgomery County

| Date Posted: 7/21/2022

TROY, N.C. — Joining a cardiac rehabilitation program can improve overall health and quality of life for people who have had a heart attack, heart surgery or heart failure, or those suffering from other heart conditions.


To make such a program as convenient for as many people as possible, FirstHealth has nationally certified programs in Pinehurst, Rockingham and Sanford. In August, a fourth cardiac rehabilitation program will open at FirstHealth Fitness in Troy.


According to Melissa Stewart, R.N., clinical director for FirstHealth cardiac rehab and program manager at the new Troy site, participation in a cardiac rehab program helps patients who have had certain heart issues, including heart attacks, live longer and improve their chances to avoid another heart attack and decrease future hospital admissions.


“Research shows that individuals who participate in 36 sessions of an outpatient cardiac rehab program have a 47% lower risk of death than those who only participate in one session,” Stewart said.


People who attend cardiac rehab include those who have had heart attack, stable angina (chest discomfort), heart bypass, valve surgery, angioplasty, coronary stent, congestive heart failure (CHF) and other risk factors for heart disease. Stewart has worked with FirstHealth’s cardiac rehab program since 2005. Prior to joining the program, she worked in cardiac nursing at Moore Regional Hospital for six years.


In addition to Stewart, the experienced cardiac rehab team at FirstHealth in Troy will include an exercise physiologist and registered nurse. Patients will also have access to a registered dietitian, and Katherine Newell, M.D., emergency medicine physician, will serve as medical director for the program.


“We’re thrilled to be able to expand our cardiac rehab program and provide convenient access for patients in Montgomery County and surrounding areas,” added Stewart. Participation in cardiac rehabilitation requires a referral from a primary care physician or cardiologist.


Montgomery County residents will also be able to join a similar service, the Bridge to Wellness Program. This program is available for graduates of a cardiac rehabilitation program as well as others who can benefit from professional guidance to learn to exercise safely with their health conditions. Participants in this program do not need a physician referral.


For heart failure patients who don’t meet the criteria for cardiac rehab, FirstHealth will offer a Heart Failure Bridge to Wellness Program that is intended to teach participants skills to better manage their disease through education and exercise to help improve quality of life and prevent hospitalizations. Referrals for this program can be made by a physician, nurse, dietitian, or other health care provider.


FirstHealth Cardiac Rehab in Troy will open on Monday, Aug. 8 and will be based at FirstHealth Fitness at 524 Wood Street.  For more information, call (910) 571-5223 or visit

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