Beyond The David Procedure For… David
After two heart surgeries in six days (yes, you read that right), David Barnes has quite the tale to tell. That said, I thought you might like to hear more about this inspirational and educational patient success story.
I had my heart surgery on March 25, 2008 at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. My surgeon, Dr. Fehrenbacher, replaced a dilated ascending aorta (5.3cm) and repaired an old descending aorta coarctation repair from 1972. I also had the David Procedure – aortic root replacement without replacement of the aortic valve.
On March 31st, just six days later, I required a second surgery (a Ross Procedure with a synergraft pulmonary valve from Cryolife), because the David Procedure failed.
Naples, Florida After Two Heart Surgeries
Although the David Procedure failed I was well aware of the risks. There are no guarantees in any surgery and sometimes when things don’t work out patients may look to assign blame. I preferred the David Procedure because I thought that it was best to keep my own parts if possible.
Needless to say, I was not a model patient. But, as they say, “All’s well that ends well!” My only major complication was that I had post-operative edema which looked pretty funny on me.
After being in the hospital for two weeks, I am now eleven weeks post-second surgery and feeling great during the recovery. I went back to work after seven weeks – the first week back I went half-days. As for meds, I am on 100 milligrams of metoprolol and a daily baby asprin. I hope to ween off metoprolol in six months.
As I previously shared, my cardiothoracic surgeon was Dr. John Fehrenbacher who was excellent! I would recommend him to all heart surgery patients.
Dr. John Fehrenbacher – David’s Heart Surgeon
So you know, I used your book quite a bit. First of all, it helped me get a handle on what to expect. It really helped me deal with the initial shock and fear of surgery. Once I was over that hurdle, I used the book to help learn how to find a surgeon and what questions to ask. I am glad I found you on the internet.
FYI, I was asymptomatic when they discovered the aneurysm. I like to ski and play basketball. I eat very well and exercise a lot. So other than the aneurysm, I was a really healthy guy.
As for surgical options, my first choice was the David Procedure. My second choice was the Ross Procedure. My third choice was a mechanical valve. Ultimately, I knew that it would be a game time decision for Dr. Fehrenbacher – once he got in there and had a look around.
I did a lot of research on my surgeon prior to scheduling the surgery. I was lucky that I knew a lot of people who where physicians or hospital administrators that I could talk to. I also knew a number of cardiovascular medical device sales reps who were very valuable in providing information. Unlike physicians, they had no problem giving me very direct assessments. I checked out the surgeons from many different sources. So, when I had to have the second surgery, I never had to worry about whether I had the right surgeon.
My point is, as I am sure you know, even with the best surgeon and healthiest patient there are inherent risks and, by definition, sometimes they happen.
I hope this is helpful and thanks again for writing your book!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.