Thrive by IU Health

February 18, 2024

Retired pastor recovers in second round of rehab

IU Health West Hospital

Retired pastor recovers in second round of rehab

By Emma Avila,, writer for IU Health’s Indianapolis Suburban Region

Harold Leininger II, a retired pastor, underwent cardiac rehabilitation at IU Health West following a second heart surgery, appreciating the team's personalized care.

As a retired pastor, Harold Leininger II doesn’t know a stranger. He greets everyone he meets with kind words and a friendly smile. At the age of 88, he hasn’t slowed down much. However, that changed when his heart started having problems.

Leininger is no stranger to IU Health West’s Cardiac Rehabilitation. Ten years ago, he completed the program after he had open heart surgery. Now, he’s back for a second time after another surgery in late 2023 to put in an artificial aortic valve.

“They said my valve was slowly closing,” he explains.

Both surgeries were performed at IU Health Methodist, but since Leininger is a Brownsburg resident, he chose to complete Cardiac Rehab at IU Health West since it’s closer to home.

Cardiac Rehab is a structured inpatient and outpatient program designed to help patients recover from cardiac events or procedures. The program consists of supervised exercise and cardiac specific education.

“We have a strong team, a multi-disciplinary team,” says Aaron Wright, exercise physiologist. “We all wear the same hat, but we offer different skills.”

Pictured, left to right: Jeremy Kimbley, lead exercise physiologist; Aaron Rhoads, registered nurse; Harold Leininger II; Aaron Wright, exercise physiologist; Megan Sharpe, respiratory therapist

The team consists of exercise physiologists, a registered nurse and a respiratory therapist.

Wright has been at IU Health West since 2010 and on the Cardiac Rehab team since 2012. He was on the team when Leininger first started the program 10 years ago.

These people have been wonderful to me,” Leininger says. “Each person here is unique.”

Leininger graduated from the program in late December, but he still comes to the gym for maintenance exercise. This is meant to keep his heart strong and healthy. The Cardiac Rehab team is also on standby in case they are needed.

“We’re another set of eyes for the physicians and nurse practitioners,” Wright explains.

For Harold, he developed a relationship with the team, the original members from 10 years ago as well as the people who have joined since.

“They care for each patient individually,” he says. “That’s what moved me.”



Related Services