LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With heart disease being the leading cause of death in this country, East Texas doctors are doing whatever it takes to cut that number in half.
"I had a heart attack, and I was air lifted to Houston," program graduate, Emma Ligon said. "When I came back Dr. Bachireddy gave me orders to comer here."
Ligon is just one of many patients at CHI Saint Luke's Cardiac Rehabilitation center who said this program has saved their life.
"I came to heart rehab here at the art institute about three months ago, and it has really, enhanced my life," program graduate, Carolyn Tinkle said.
"It strengthened my heart, gave me strength in my legs, and it's helped me a lot," program graduate, Harwelleen Porter said. "I've been here three years."
"The most important thing is improving the quality of life, because it strengthens the heart muscle and the lungs," president of East Texas heart institute, Dr. Ravinder Bachireddy said.
Led by Bachireddy, the heart institute sets up a customized program for each patient. The program includes an on-site cardiologist, nurse, and clinical exercise.
"You're preventing future heart attacks and strokes," Bachireddy said. "You're also helping the patient decrease hospital admissions."
Celebrating its second anniversary, many reflected on the life changing work.
"Patients have come to the cardiac rehab program in very disabled condition, but they have walked out of the heart institute very happy," Bachireddy said.
"It's just a great work out," Tinkle said. "We have good people that help us, and are with us every day, and encourage us."
"I just love the staff," Ligon said. "Everybody was really kind. They know what they're doing, and they brought me from a mighty long way."
To date 514 people have gone through this life changing program.
For more information about the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center visit CHI St. Luke's website.