Cardiac Rehab Stories

Otis' Story

Dec 5, 2023

“Thanks to RIM, I’m back on stage doing what I love.” – Otis Brown

Otis Brown has tap danced for forty years. He told his DMC cardiac surgeon, “I have to be able to tap,” when he went in for stent surgery in 2022 to remove heart blockage.

Otis has a history of heart problems. In 2005, he had an aortic dissection caused by a burst aortic valve. Doctors repaired it and Otis recovered. In 2019, back pain led to the discovery of two heart aneurysms. Doctors fixed one, but the second one is in too risky of a location for surgery. It was recommended that he do cardiac rehab, but Otis felt he was active enough with his dancing.

“I thought my recovery from that surgery would be easy, but I noticed changes in my body. I had trouble breathing and just didn’t have the same endurance. So, when they recommended cardiac rehab at DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) after my stent surgery, I knew that was going to help me.”

Otis did five months of outpatient cardiac rehab several times a week. He would walk at least a mile on the indoor track, ride the exercise bike and do the elliptical machine. Every step of the way, his blood pressure and heart rate were monitored by therapists.

“My therapists took good care of me and always knew my goal of not being winded during a dance. They had me use ankle weights and increase the difficulty or time to build my endurance. They even incorporated tap dancing into my rehab!”

Otis says he has enough stamina to make it through a dance and is even back teaching. He continues to work out on his own at RIM’s Brasza Fitness Center.

“Thanks to RIM, I’m back on stage doing what I love with the Detroit Jazz Tappers. I’m so grateful that therapists gave me my wind and steps back!”