Decades of research demonstrate how Ornish Lifestyle Medicine slows and even stops heart disease progression. Though offered nationwide, Sentara Heart is proud to be the only Virginia provider of this scientifically proven program.
Following the program results in dramatic improvements in heart disease symptoms and conditions. This progress motivates participants to stick with the lifestyle changes so they maintain long-term health.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
National health expert Dr. Dean Ornish sought to create a simple, compassionate approach to heart disease nearly 4 decades ago. He wanted to show that medical treatment does not need to be expensive or high-tech to work.
Dr. Ornish's Lifestyle Heart Trial was the first randomized, controlled clinical trial to assess how diet, exercise, stress management and emotional support improve heart disease. He measured patient success at the 1-year and 5-year marks.
Factors Dr. Ornish tracked included:
- How well patients adhered to lifestyle changes
- Changes in artery blockages
- Risk of repeat cardiac events like heart attacks
Dramatic Heart Disease Improvements
Patients following Dr. Ornish’s program showed dramatically greater improvement compared with patients following general health guidelines. Results after 1 year included:
- 99% of patients stopped or reversed their coronary heart disease
- 82% of patients saw an improvement in artery blockages
- 91% overall reduction in chest pain frequency
- 40% overall reduction in bad LDL cholesterol without drugs
- 300% improvement in overall blood flow to the heart
- Average weight loss of 24 pounds
On the other hand, patients not on the plan saw their health decline. These patients experienced:
- 2.5 times greater risk for cardiac events
- 165.5% increase in chest pain
- More areas of the heart experiencing diminished blood flow
Learn more about the benefits of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine.
Proven by Decades of Research
More than 30 years of advanced scientific research shows the Ornish program can reverse the progression of heart disease. Dr. Ornish has published his studies in leading medical journals, including:
- Journal of American Medical Association
- The Lancet
- American Journal of Cardiology
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
More Success: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
Dr. Ornish has published many additional studies through Multi-Center Lifestyle Demonstration Projects. These studies test the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program’s effectiveness in hospital sites across the country.
Thousands of people in these programs benefit from fast, effective results. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield enrolled almost 4,000 patients in sites across Illinois, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
After 1 year in this program, results included:
- 85% to 90% of participants continued to adhere to the program
- 96.5% of participants reported improvements in chest pain
- Average weight loss of about 16 pounds
- Significant reductions in blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides
- 50% reduction in depression scores
- 24% increase in exercise capacity
After 3 years, continued health benefits included:
- 77% of patients avoided surgical procedures to improve blood flow
- No further cardiac events
Health Insurance and Medicare Coverage
The research backing the Ornish program is so compelling that Medicare joined several private health insurers in fully covering the program. Medicare even created a special category for the program called intensive cardiovascular rehabilitation (ICR).
Learn if Ornish is right for you and whether you may be covered by insurance.