Date: 3/13/2009

King of Hearts is crowned during Cardiac Rehabilitation Week

Enjoying the royalties of cardiac rehabilitation at Community Hospital’s Fitness Pointe are (left to right): King of Hearts Nick Paravantes and his wife Bea of Munster.

Ninety-eight year old Nick Paravantes understands the important benefits of cardiac rehabilitation and is reaping royalties in education, regular exercise and support from others to keep his heart in good rhythm. Paravantes has been honored by the Indiana Society of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation as the King of Hearts. He was nominated for the annual state award by the staff of the Community Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase 3 Department. The annual celebratory coronation is a way to honor patients who have earned life-sustaining benefits of cardiac rehabilitation.

“Our Cardiac Rehabilitation staff usually selects members of our Phase 3 program as king and/or queen of hearts based on those who have made great strides in controlling their coronary risk factors such as not smoking; weight loss; diet control; exercise and diabetes management,” said Annie Mossak-Johnson, MS EPC, supervisor of Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase 3 at Community Hospital’s Fitness Pointe®. “But this year, in addition to lifestyle modifications, we submitted Nick Paravantes and his wife of 55 years Bea, for their dedication to fitness and our program, for their teamwork to work around obstacles, and for demonstrating true ‘royalty’ through loyalty.”

An estimated 150,000 to 250,000 people, including Paravantes, participate in cardiac rehabilitation programs each year in the United States to help them regain heart strength after a heart attack, open heart surgery, angioplasty/stent or cardiac related chest pain.

Community Healthcare System’s heart professionals have published a nationally recognized study that demonstrates the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation. According to the study results, those who participated in cardiac rehabilitation after undergoing a coronary stent procedure to open blocked arteries were twice as likely to stay out of the hospital for additional intervention, compared to those who did not take advantage of the supervised program.

Community Hospital’s King of Hearts is living-proof that cardiac rehabilitation does make a difference. Paravantes had coronary artery bypass graft surgery in 1996 and is under the local care of Robert Litchfield D.O., cardiologist on staff at Community Hospital. Since then, Paravantes has been enrolled in the cardiac rehabilitation program, losing weight, maintaining his cholesterol levels and exercising regularly.

To attend the Phase 3 program week-after-week, year-after-year is a story of true partnership between Nick and Bea Paravantes of Munster who are 98 and 90-years of age, respectively. With Bea as the driver and Nick the navigator, only an occasional illness or bad weather has prevented Nick’s attendance in his class or Bea’s attendance in the general fitness classes.

As they both use walkers to assist in movement/balance, they workout to the fullest extent of their capabilities — Nick with hand weights, balancing exercises, Nu-step, and assisted laps around the gym. He completes chair exercises with enthusiasm and gives it his all at the balance bar, according to Mossak-Johnson.

“Cardiac rehabilitation is an excellent program for individuals, like Nick, who need assistance, or who are just starting an exercise program and prefer to have a supervised and structured format until they are comfortable and motivated to exercise on their own,” said Mossak-Johnson.

A cardiac rehabilitation program can also be beneficial for people with heart arrhythmias, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase 3 is located in Community Hospital’s Fitness Pointe, a medically-based fitness center designed to help individuals achieve life-long health and fitness through innovative, quality programs, state-of-the-art equipment and highly experienced and credentialed staff. The hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase 3 program is recipient of the state society’s 2008 Innovative Program Award. Located south of the hospital campus at 9950 Calumet Ave. in Munster, Cardiac Rehab/Fitness Pointe also offers specialty cardiac rehabilitation classes for people with diabetes or peripheral arterial disease. Call 219-934-2830 for more information on programs and services.

Community Hospital and its sister hospitals of the Community Healthcare System — St. Catherine in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart - offer regular screenings that assess a person’s risk for heart disease and other related medical conditions. Visit for a complete listing of upcoming screenings and assessments available at a Community Healthcare System hospital or outpatient facility in your neighborhood.