• Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation

    In-depth outpatient rehab for heart patients using the proven Pritikin system

    If you’re a heart attack victim or have suffered another major heart event – or you’ve had a major heart procedure, such as coronary bypass surgery or heart valve repair or replacement…

    …rehabilitation is critical to getting back to life and decreasing your risk of another cardiac problem.

    Of course, Wellmont Health System and the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute have always provided rehabilitation services for heart patients, both during their hospital stay and after they leave.

    To help patients recover and make meaningful, long-term lifestyle changes, we now offer a program called Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab through the new Bill Gatton Center for Advanced Cardiac Rehab.

    What is Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab?

    More than physical rehab – an in-depth education for long-term success

    Like traditional cardiac rehabilitation programs, Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab has a big focus on exercise.

    Unlike traditional heart rehab though, intensive cardiac rehabilitation also provides a comprehensive education in important skills like healthy cooking, grocery shopping and stress management.

    72 sessions (instead of the typical 36)

    In fact, where most rehab programs cover 36 sessions, Pritikin’s lifestyle-education approach covers 72 sessions to help you achieve health improvements you can sustain in the long run.

    Medicare-approved for most heart patients

    For qualifying patients with serious cardiovascular conditions, the Pritikin program has been approved for Medicare reimbursement. It actually falls into a new benefit class called intensive cardiac rehab (ICR).

    Medicare covers both the rehabilitation exercises and the lifestyle-change education.

    And you’ll receive both on every visit.

    Significant, lasting benefits for a range of conditions: heart, cancer, diabetes and more

    Pritikin has been shown to help prevent, control – or sometimes even reverse – a range of diseases and conditions,1 including:

    • Heart disease
    • Angina pain
    • Hypertension
    • Diabetes/high blood sugar
    • Metabolic syndrome
    • Excess weight/obesity
    • Prostate cancer
    • High cholesterol
    • High triglycerides
    • Peripheral artery disease
    • Chronic inflammation

    In other words…

    …with Pritikin you can make meaningful, long-lasting changes to reduce your chances of having another heart event.

    Who is intensive cardiac rehab for?

    If you've had one or more of the following conditions but didn't receive Medicare-reimbursed cardiac rehab after your most recent event, you would probably benefit from intensive cardiac rehab.

    Qualifying conditions or events

    • Heart attack (also called acute myocardial infarction)*
    • Coronary artery bypass surgery
    • Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or stenting procedure
    • Current stable angina pectoris
    • Heart or heart-lung transplant
    • Heart valve repair or replacement

    *With the exception of heart attack, there isn't a time limit on when these events had to happen to be covered by Medicare. A heart attack must had happened within the past 12 months to be covered.

    How does the Pritikin program work?

    Pritikin cardiac rehab is built on three pillars:

    1. Regular exercise
    2. Healthy eating
    3. Healthy mindset

    Once you’ve enrolled, a Pritikin-trained specialist will meet with you to customize a program in which you will:

    • Exercise regularly, as directed by your doctor, following the Personal Exercise Action Plan you’ll help create.
    • Watch video presentations that teach you specifics on how to reduce your cardiac risk through healthy living – by exercising, eating right and maintaining a healthy mind-set.
    • Benefit from the personal attention of trained experts, who will guide you through the program, answer your questions, provide counseling and monitor your progress.

    Through your Pritikin rehab sessions, you’ll also learn how to:

    • Cook heart-healthy meals that taste good and are easy on your wallet
    • Become a smarter grocery shopper
    • Make heart-healthy choices when you eat out
    • Lose weight using science-based skills
    • Quit smoking, using a variety of strategies
    • Manage day-to-day stress and improve both your personal and professional relationships
    • Transform negative attitudes into positive ones

    In the end, you will have gotten an in-depth education about the relationship between your lifestyle and cardiovascular health. And you’ll be more motivated than ever to live well – for your heart and for those you love.

    Does the program really work?

    A tested, scientifically proven system

    The Pritikin method has been taught for 40 years at Pritikin Longevity Centers, and more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific studies have established its proven health benefits.

    Here are just a few examples from those medical studies:

    • Blood pressure drugs reduced or stopped
      83% of those taking drugs for high blood pressure were able to reduce their doses significantly – or stop taking the drugs completely – in an analysis of 1,117 hypertension patients.2
    • Cholesterol and triglycerides reduced
      LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) fell an average of 23% and triglyceride levels dropped 33% in UCLA research covering 4,587 patients.3
    • Diabetes meds reduced or stopped
      74% of those with Type 2 diabetes decreased their prescription doses or were able to entirely eliminate their oral medications.4
    • Metabolic syndrome reversed
      In a study of men with metabolic syndrome – a major risk factor for coronary artery disease and diabetes – 60% no longer tested positive for the condition.5
    • Chronic inflammation reduced
      C-reactive protein levels, which is a key indicator of chronic inflammation, dropped an average of 45% among women and 39% among men.6

    What's more…

    All these improvements, including the medication reductions, happened within three weeks of starting the program.

    Where can I find Pritikin cardiac rehab program?

    The Pritikin program is offered exclusively in the Tri-Cities region of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia by the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute.

    You can find intensive cardiac rehab at:

    Bill Gatton Center for Advanced Cardiac Rehab
    2050 MeadowView Parkway
    Kingsport, TN 37660

    How can I get started?

    If you're looking for more information or have questions about intensive cardiac rehabilitation, please contact Wellmont Nurse Connection at 877-230-NURSE.


    1. Though the benefits of the Pritikin program have been demonstrated in more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific studies for certain conditions, results will vary from one person to another, as with any rehabilitation program. Even two people who comply with all the program requirements could have very different health outcomes.

    Your success in reaching the results you want depends on several factors, including your dedication to the program, your personal goals, your body and genetics, the support you receive from others outside the program, environmental conditions and any number of other health factors.

    Also, the Pritikin program is not a substitute for any medical treatments, including medicines, that have been prescribed by your doctor.

    We can’t guarantee your health will improve as a result of participating in Pritikin, but if you follow the program, chances are very high that you’ll do much better than if you didn’t participate.

    2. Journal of Cardiac Rehabilitation, 1983; 3: 839

    3. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1991; 151: 1389

    4. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2005; 98: 3

    5. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2006; 100: 1657

    6. Metabolism, 2004; 53: 377. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2006; 100: 1657. Atherosclerosis, 2007; 191: 98

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    Is intensive cardiac rehab for you?

    Reach out anytime, 24/7, to learn more or to find out if you or someone you love is eligible.

    Contact Us Today

    Or call a nurse – 877‑230‑6877.