ST. LOUIS, Jan. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Heralding a new day in cardiac care in Louisiana, CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier has become the first hospital in the state to launch the Pritikin ICR™ (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation) program for patients suffering from cardiovascular disease, the state’s No. 1 killer.

The decision by the Louisiana hospital – part of the extensive Irving, Tex.-based CHRISTUS Health System – means that patients who have suffered from one of six qualifying cardiovascular events can be enrolled at CHRISTUS in the Pritikin ICR program. That program is one of only two Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation programs being offered to hospitals in the United States. It is based in turn on the Pritikin lifestyle program, which focuses on the role of healthy eating, regular exercise and a healthy mind-set.

Leading medical journals have published more than 100 peer-reviewed studies that have validated the Pritikin lifestyle program’s efficacy in addressing heart disease, as well as a variety of other conditions, diseases and health concerns. The Pritikin lifestyle program has been taught continuously at the Pritikin Longevity Center for the last 40 years.

Cardiovascular disease is by far the leading cause of death in Louisiana, according to the Centers for Disease Control, substantially outpacing cancer and accidents, which rank second and third. The death rate from cardiovascular disease in Louisiana is also much higher than in the United States as a whole, the CDC data show.

“Pritikin ICR is a comprehensive program that gives patients the tools to help them recover from a cardiovascular disease-related event such as a heart attack,” said Bob Franceschelli, President of St. Louis-based Pritikin ICR. “Medical procedures and medications prescribed by physicians must be coupled with a heart-healthy lifestyle. Through a comprehensive and engaging series of educational sessions, the Pritikin ICR program teaches patients how to sustain a heart-healthy eating plan, regular exercise, and the kind of mind-set that fosters healthy behaviors.”
“CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier is excited to begin offering the Pritikin ICR program to qualified patients,” said Isaac Palmer, CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier’s Chief Executive Officer. “The program offers the opportunity for improved health outcomes and reduced readmissions for those who suffered a cardiac event. The ICR program consists of 72 sessions, providing patients with substantially more education in healthy living than they receive in ordinary Cardiac Rehab (CR), which is 36 sessions primarily focused on exercise. The Pritikin ICR program incorporates the 36 CR sessions of exercise and adds 36 sessions of education.”

The sessions, Palmer noted, will offer a mix of exercise, individual education and counseling, and group workshops facilitated by CHRISTUS personnel, including new features such as heart healthy cooking classes in onsite kitchen facilities and instruction on healthy food shopping and meal planning.

More information is available at

About Pritikin Programs:

The Pritikin Program emphasizes exercise, a healthy mind-set, and an eating plan focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat, nonfat dairy, and protein-rich plant foods like legumes, or beans. Today, the Pritikin Program is taught at the Pritikin Longevity Center, a full service health resort in Miami, Florida, and in hospital provided outpatient programs licensed in a number of states throughout the country. All Pritikin Programs are covered by Medicare for qualifying individuals. The medical conditions that qualify for Medicare reimbursement include heart attack, coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty, stable angina (chest pain), heart or heart-lung transplants, and heart valve repair or replacements. For more information, please visit

About CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier:

A faith-based, not-for-profit health system, CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier is part of CHRISTUS Health, sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. CHRISTUS is among the 10 largest Catholic health systems in the country and one of the 20 largest of all health systems in the nation. CHRISTUS Health Shreveport Bossier has provided health care in Northwest Louisiana for over 100 years. Our mission is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.

CHRISTUS Cardiac Rehab