Date: 2/19/2009

St. Mary Medical Center Kings and Queen of Hearts are Crowned During Cardiac Rehab Week

Enjoying the royalties of cardiac rehabilitation at St. Mary Medical Center are (left to right): Chris McGrew, R.N., supervisor, Spectrum; Cheryl Alderson, director, Cardiac Cath Lab; Janice Ryba, CEO, St. Mary Medical Center; Queen of Hearts Joann Pavy; King of Hearts David Mayer and Dr. Felix Gozo, medical director, Cardiac Rehabilitation. Gary Centers (not pictured) was also crowned King of Hearts.

HOBART — St. Mary Medical Center patients Joann Pavy, David Mayer and Gary Centers understand the important benefits of cardiac rehabilitation and are reaping royalties in education and regular exercise to keep their hearts in good rhythm. All three patients were honored this year as the “Kings and Queen” of St. Mary Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Department. The annual celebratory coronation is a way to honor patients who have earned life-sustaining benefits of cardiac rehabilitation.

“Our Cardiac Rehabilitation staff selected three members of the Phase 3 program as King and Queen of Hearts,” said Chris McGrew, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation supervisor at St. Mary Medical Center. “This year, two kings and one queen were selected based on how well they control their coronary risk factors such as not smoking, weight loss, diet control, exercise and diabetes management. In addition to lifestyle modification, we look for candidates who improve their health on a regular basis and display a positive attitude. This program provides a great support system for patients with heart disease because they can rely on each other and share stories that can help continue the health and well-being of each individual.”

St. Mary Medical Center’s Kings and Queen of Hearts are living-proof that cardiac rehabilitation makes a difference in the quality of their health. “Queen Pavy” was diagnosed with unstable angina last July. She was also depressed when she started the program which was triggered by the loss of her husband. Pavy states that prior to starting the Cardiac Rehabilitation program she had become emotionally detached from people and only saw family members. Since starting the program, she has become more independent and comfortable with other patients and the staff. “Cardiac Rehab has perked me back up and I feel so much better after exercising,” says Pavy. One of the most crucial lifestyle changes she made was to stop smoking. She is under the care of Eric Schulte, M.D., cardiologist on staff at St. Mary Medical Center.

“King Mayer” had his first five-vessel artery bypass graft surgery in 1985 and another in 2007. He is under the care of Jack Ziegler, M.D., cardiologist on staff at St. Mary Medical Center who ordered Mayer to the cardiac program after surgery. Mayer bonded with other heart attack patients who were trying to cope with the same emotional and physical challenges. The group also provided him with support and strength. Mayer now exercises on a regular basis, enjoys golfing and has continued working. “I feel like my quality of life has improved,” says Mayer. “I look forward to exercising three days a week and my self-esteem has changed. St. Mary Medical Center’s rehabilitation program has the best staff and they treat me like family. They are dedicated professionals who make each individual feel accepted and confident.”

“King Centers” had two coronary stents placed in 2002 and had a four-vessel coronary bypass surgery in 2008. Centers had to make a dietary change and incorporate exercise to improve his health. His goal was to be stronger and stabilize his weight as recommended by his physician Mark Nootens, M.D., cardiologist on staff at Community Hospital. His hard work and dedication have made positive changes in his lab values and minimized use of medications. He is an inspiration to other patients in the program and always has a kind word or hug for others.

Cardiac rehab is also for people with heart arrhythmias, peripheral arterial disease, cardiomyopathy and obesity. Spectrum of St. Mary Medical Center, located just north of the hospital campus at 1345 S. Lake Park Ave., offers specialty cardiac rehabilitation educational classes for diabetics as well as people with high blood pressure.

St. Mary Medical Center and its sister hospitals of the Community Healthcare System — Community Hospital in Munster and St. Catherine in East Chicago offer regular screenings that can 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.