Despite a heart attack and a stroke last summer, Karen Reed and her heart are growing stronger every day, thanks to the expert care she received at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center and her commitment to cardiac rehabilitation.

Reed’s journey back to heart health started with what seemed like indigestion, escalating within hours to nausea, cold sweats and dizziness. She called 9-1-1.

When the paramedics arrived at her Rockville home, she asked to go to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center—a designated cardiac interventional center by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems based on the quality of its heart care.

“In the emergency room, I saw the fear on my husband’s face, and I was determined this would not be it,” Reed, 65, recalls.

She was rushed from the Emergency Department to the specialized cardiac procedure area, where an expert heart team was ready to begin treatment.

Reed immediately went into cardiac arrest due to an abnormal heart rhythm. The heart team, led by Dennis Friedman, M.D., interventional cardiologist and medical director of cardiac and vascular services at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, had to resuscitate Reed 27 times during the lifesaving treatment.

“We successfully used the latest advances in cardiac care to stabilize her heart rhythm and then opened her arteries with a catheter,” Dr. Friedman says. “A stent was placed to restore blood flow to her blocked right artery. Our goal was to save her life and get her back to her family.”

Says Reed: “The whole time, the care team was surrounding me, telling me what they were doing, encouraging me.”

Upon Reed’s discharge, Dr. Friedman recommended cardiac rehabilitation. Research shows cardiac rehabilitation enhances the ability to perform everyday tasks, reduces heart disease risk factors, and improves quality of life, emotional stability and outlook.

Reed followed Dr. Friedman’s advice and registered at the Center for Fitness and Health at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, which is nationally certified to provide monitored exercise for heart patients and those facing vascular and pulmonary conditions, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

“My doctor tells me if I eat right and exercise appropriately—do cardiac rehab and walk—I will be in better health than I was six months before my heart attack,” Reed says. “My experience with [the Center for Fitness and Health] has been fantastic. I love the attention, the care and the monitoring.”