Heart and Vascular

Northern Dutchess Hospital cardiac rehab helps get man back on transplant list

Matthew Hempel - Cardiac Rehab Patient


It was five years ago when Matthew Hempel’s Type 1 diabetes began to wreak havoc on his system.

First, he went blind and then he suffered kidney failure, a condition requiring thrice-weekly dialysis treatments.

Hempel’s been waiting three years for a kidney transplant, but his place on the list was paused in March when he needed triple bypass heart surgery, another setback from his diabetes.

After his surgery, Hempel began cardiac rehabilitation at Northern Dutchess Hospital in May. His last session was on Sept. 3, a bona fide success and even more cause to celebrate.

“I’m on the top of the list,” Hempel, 38, said, of the kidney transplant registry. “I’m just waiting for the call.”

Hempel’s progress was celebrated by the cardiac rehab team, all of whom said they admired his strength and resolve.

“Matt came to cardiac rehab in a wheelchair, and he’s done so well; he now walks in under his own power,” Cardiac Rehab Coordinator Frances Becker said. “He’s got strong family support, and he’s dedicated. All of these elements are needed to be successful.”


Barbara Troan, a nurse in the cardiac rehab program, also said she admires his positive outlook.


“What impresses me about Matt is he has multiple medical issues, but he always looks to the future,” Troan said.


Matthew Hempel with Cardiac Rehab team
Matthew Hempel celebrated his last day of cardiac rehab with his team; specialist Benjamin Coons, coordinator Frances Becker and nurse Barbara Troan.


Cardiac rehab at Northern Dutchess Hospital offers a full suite of cardiac and pulmonary services, backed by the expertise of cardiologists, pulmonologists and rehabilitation specialists. The program’s goal is to help ease a patient’s symptoms, make their heart as healthy as possible and includes a variety of exercises, as well as stress management, occupational therapy and counseling activities.


Hempel, who used the stationary bike, upper body ergometer and treadmill during his sessions, said he’s pleased with the cardiac rehab program and plans to continue his exercise routine.


“I couldn’t even stand at the counter and make a sandwich. My goal was to do more stuff around the house, chores and house cleaning. I’m definitely able to do that now,” said Hempel, of Elizaville. “I feel like I accomplished something. I’ve definitely gotten stronger, put on muscle mass and gained some weight.”


Learn more about the Northern Dutchess Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation program or call (845) 871-4301 (TTY 800-421-1220).


This story is one patient’s experience, recounted here for educational and general informational purposes only.