My Crozer-Keystone Story: Michael Liciardello, Cardiac Rehabilitation Patient - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on November 06, 2014

My Crozer-Keystone Story: Michael Liciardello, Cardiac Rehabilitation Patient

Crozer-Keystone Health SystemMedia Contact:
Katrina Stier
(610) 447-6314

Why I Love the Healthplex®

“The Healthplex® Wellness Center and its trainers provided me with priceless knowledge about balance, stretching and strengthening. I would not be able to do the things that I love and am able to do today without their guidance and support.”


Michael Liciardello of Aston, Pa. was 35 years old when he was diagnosed with a heart condition that he had since birth. After enduring three open-heart surgeries and suffering from two strokes, Michael knew it was time to make a change. With the help of the Healthplex® Wellness Center, its cardiac rehabilitation program, and the nurses and trainers, Michael was able to make the necessary adjustments to his lifestyle.

The Healthplex is no ordinary gym. It offers wellness programs for individuals like Michael, who are in transition from hospital-based outpatient care to an independent exercise program. The Wellness Center helps gets members back on track by first assessing them, and then guiding through a personalized, goal oriented program tailored to their individual needs. In an environment that promotes well-being and an increased quality of life.

By following the entire continuum of care Michael was able to recognized success and achieved his goal of returning to refereeing. Every facet of the Healthplex played an important role, without which Michael would not be where he is today. However, the road to recovery was not easy, Michael like many of us faced challenges along the way. Michael relapsed twice, but each time he came back more determined then before with more support and help from the Healthplex nurses and trainers. Today, Michael shares his incredible story and journey to recovery.

“I was experiencing tightness in my chest while refereeing a college-level basketball game. I went to the emergency room to get checked out and was sent home that day with no diagnosis. However, after many visits to my cardiologist and some persistence on my part, a cardiac catheterization procedure was conducted to help determine if there was truly something wrong with me. I learned that day that I had been born with a heart condition called bicuspid aortic valve disease (BAVD). Since my diagnosis, I have had a series of open heart surgeries and have struggled with many life-changing effects such as rapid weight gain, difficulties breathing and trouble sleeping. In December 2012, I found out I had to have a third surgery to replace one of my heart valves with a mechanical valve. When I got out of the hospital I was on 10 different medications and was still overweight. I joined the Healthplex to receive training and guidance from the Wellness Center’s cardiac rehabilitation program.

“When I began, I discovered that the Healthplex, as a whole, is more than just a regular gym. The programs provided through the Healthplex® Wellness Center are headed by nurses and professionals who can offer both medical and training services to aid in your rehabilitation. That’s where the cardiac rehabilitation program fit in. The benefit of the program is having nurses on site that can recognize a true problem when it occurs. During my time in the program, they noticed premature ventricular contractions began to appear on tape. They reported this to my doctor who was then able to properly treat me. This made all the difference to me as I gained the confidence I needed to push myself while still feeling safe because they were there to monitor me.

“The trainers from the Healthplex® Wellness Center also helped me understand the importance of balance and using specific exercises to target areas for improvement. I know that without help from my trainer, Tonya, I would not be as stable or healthy. This step in my recovery truly helped me prepare for the next level, which was to begin working out on my own. After 16 months, I have lost 110 pounds and am only taking one medication. I feel great and could not be happier to be getting back to doing the things I love. As well as training for a 100-mile bike race, I am back to refereeing basketball and am even refereeing some games at the Healthplex too. I am continuing to get better and stronger every day and feel a new confidence in myself.”

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