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Aneurysm to Anthem: Cardiac Rehab Success

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Aneurysm to Anthem: Cardiac Rehab Success

July 09, 2024

L-R: Nikki Knoblock, BSN, RN; Jim Koch; Michelle Litterer, BA, RN; Rebecca Carpenter, BSN, RN

An ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm (ATAA) is a weak spot where the aorta joins the heart, causing an outward bulge. This condition can be hereditary, which is the case for Waverly native Jim Koch. 

Koch’s grandfather and father were both diagnosed with an ATAA. His grandfather sadly passed away from this condition, while his father was able to have his surgically repaired. Currently, treatments of an ATAA can include regular checkups to monitor the size of the aneurysm, medicine or surgery. The goal of treatment is to prevent the aneurysm from growing or rupturing. 

Six months after his ATAA diagnosis, Koch had a checkup to see if his aneurysm was growing. The decision was made between Koch and his team of doctors to surgically repair the aneurysm. Koch had surgery to repair his ATAA in January 2024. 

Koch was referred to the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program at Waverly Health Center (WHC). He started cardiac rehab in February, attending three times per week for nearly three months.

“The cardiac rehab nurses are so very welcoming,” said Koch. “It is a friendly, caring and well-monitored environment with personalized attention for each and every patient. The space is clean and well-equipped.” 

Koch graduated from the program early due to his outstanding progress. “Through my rehab I was encouraged to challenge myself. Because of that, my improvement was remarkable. It set the stage for what I feel to be a lifetime of good diet and exercise habits and taking good care of myself overall.” 

One of Koch’s goals was to be able to be in such good health that he could play with his grandson – fishing, playing catch and more. Thanks to his cardiac rehab program, Koch feels well enough to do that now. 

“I can’t imagine there’s a better facility in the area,” Koch continued. “I had such a good experience. I highly recommend the cardiac rehab program at WHC. Anyone referred there will be in great hands.” 

To learn more about cardiopulmonary rehabilitation services at WHC, visit: Cardiac Rehabilitation | Waverly Health Center.