March 2 – Hackensack, NJ -The Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Center, a division of the Heart & Vascular Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, recently held the 16th annual ceremony to announce the “Cardiac Rehab Persons of the Year” awards. The awards recognize the efforts of patients who have initiated the most significant changes to their risk factors for heart disease, including reducing body weight, managing hypertension and lipids, managing diabetes through diet and exercise, managing stress and staying optimistic.
This year, the awards ceremony was held on Valentine’s Day. The recipient of the Barbara Bannan Rehabilitation Person of the Year Award is 63-year-old Patricia Hillas, of Hawthorne. Pat came to cardiac rehabilitation after having a stent procedure in June.
“Pat initially came to us in the setting of a heart attack and was taken to the heart catheterization lab where we saw the blockage and treated it with a stent,” said Ankitkumar Patel, M.D., associate director, Structural and Congenital Heart Program at Hackensack University Medical Center and director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Hackensack University Medical Center -Mountainside Medical Center. “Pat did very well and then transitioning from that was getting her accustomed to being on heart medications, modifying her risk factors, for which she did a great job and getting her plugged into cardiac rehab to help her make those lifestyle changes. It’s rewarding to see her doing so fantastically well.”
Pat took part in cardiac rehabilitation three times a week for 12 weeks, which included using exercise machines, the treadmill, walking the indoor track and using weights to build strength. Today, Pat continues to exercise and remains nicotine-free.
“After her stent procedure, Pat’s goal was to resume fishing activities,” said Thomas P. Mahady, senior exercise physiologist, Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. ”After cardiac rehabilitation, Pat was able to completely resume her fishing lifestyle. Her transformation was remarkable and was only accentuated by her humor. Patients and staff thoroughly enjoyed her company. Pat also quit smoking, a habit she had for more than four decades. “
“I am very lucky I came to Hackensack University Medical Center,” said Pat Hillas. “I was treated by some of the greatest nurses and doctors. I just want to say thank you to the cardiac rehabilitation team who helped me so much. I could not have accomplished this without their encouragement.”
The recipient of the Ed Wheat Award Rehabilitation Person of the Year Award is 58-year-old Romeo Mitri, of Little Ferry, who attended cardiac rehabilitation twice, initially after he received an LVAD and after he received a heart transplant.
“We watched his strength and fitness improve and we were all awed by his commitment and progress, which was remarkable,” said Thomas Mahady. “I don’t think I have ever seen someone come here in such a weakened state and leave in such a fit state and then continue with everything that he learned here. It’s an honor to present Romeo this award because he’s an inspiration for all of our patients.”
“It takes time and you need to exercise to get into shape,” said Romeo Mitri. “With exercise and training you can overcome. If you do not exercise, it is hard to take care of yourself. There’s a very good team of professionals here who helped me every step of the way and I am grateful for their support.”
“The team at the Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Center takes great pride in the work they do and it brings us great pleasure to honor past patients who have shown determination to recover and change their lives for the better,” said Joseph E. Parrillo, M.D., chair, Heart & Vascular Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. “I congratulate Patricia and Romeo for their hard work in earning these awards and I am extremely proud of our doctors, nurses and all of our team members for their dedication to our patients and their families.”
Hackensack University Medical Center is home to the Heart & Vascular Hospital, a state-of-the-art “hospital within a hospital.” This facility houses the latest equipment and programs, and integrates preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services, with a special focus on cardiovascular disease management and breakthrough research. Inpatients and outpatients are treated for all types of cardiac and vascular diseases, including heart problems, such as blocked arteries and irregular heartbeats, peripheral vascular disease and neurovascular diseases, such as stroke and aneurysm. For more information about the Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Center, please visit www.hackensackUMC.org or call 551-996-3589.
Photo caption: The Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Center, a division of the Heart & Vascular Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, recently presented the “Cardiac Rehab Persons of the Year” awards to two patients. Pictured from left to right: Bob Jamieson, son-in-law of Barbara Bannan; Thomas P. Mahady, senior exercise physiologist, Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Center at Hackensack University Medical Center; Patricia Bannan, daughter of Barbara Bannan; Patricia Hillas, recipient of the Barbara Bannan Rehabilitation Person of the Year Award; Romeo Mitri, recipient of the Ed Wheat Rehabilitation Person of the Year Award; Sue Jamieson, daughter of Barbara Bannan; and John Bannan, son of Pat Bannan.
About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical CenterHackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 33,000 team members and more than 6,500 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 Best Hospital rankings - maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2017. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit www.HackensackUMC.org.