Although I had been told I had a slight heart murmur and mild stenosis about three years ago, my PCP -- and the tech who performed my echocardiogram -- suggested it was not cause for alarm. During my most recent regular physical, in January 2021, my doctor again noted the murmur and prescribed a follow-up echocardiogram which I was planning to schedule after my 2nd COVID-19 vaccination this spring.
But in late March, while out for a morning walk with my wife and our two dogs, I experienced syncope. I collapsed and was unconscious on the pavement for nearly five minutes. Bystanders called 911, while one performed CPR. An ambulance and paramedic were already on the scene as I regained consciousness.
I was rushed to the local hospital and after an x-ray and brief exam it was determined I had no trauma (despite rib soreness from a civilian performing CPR), had not had a stroke, but was likely to have experienced some type of cardiac event. This hospital was not equipped to handle anything heart-related, so I was transferred to the nearest regional hospital, in Chesapeake, VA.
The 2nd hospital performed an echocardiogram and, when it was clear that my murmur was very significant, I was scheduled for a cardiac catheterization the next day. The angiogram showed blockage in my cardiac main artery in addition to confirming my serious aortic valve stenosis.
So, somewhat like peeling the proverbial onion, after several tests I went from having an undiagnosed heart-valve issue to a diagnosis of severe/critical aortic stenosis requiring a replacement ASAP, plus having a significant blockage in my cardiac arteries requiring a double CABG.
This regional hospital did not have a cardiac unit that could perform the needed surgery, so when a bed became available I was transferred (again) to Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk, VA, and put under the care of Dr. Joseph Newton.
My surgery took place on April 5, 2021, and was fairly routine according to what I have read on this website (after the fact). My heavily calcified, bicuspid aortic valve was replaced with a bovine-tissue valve and my two blocked cardiac arteries were bypassed. I was in the hospital for six days following my procedure, for a total of 19 days from initial collapse to release.
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
I am from:
My surgery date is:
April 5, 2021
I was diagnosed with:
Bicuspid Aortic Valve
Coronary Artery Disease
My surgery was:
Aortic Valve Replacement
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft