By writer to www.onlineathens.com
Early final June, Tom Bowen and his spouse realized they’d be welcoming one other grandchild in January. At the moment, nonetheless, the household wasn’t certain if Bowen would reside till then.
In Might of 2019, Bowen had begun a journey with coronary heart failure. After experiencing a cough for a while, pondering it to be allergy symptoms, Bowen’s situation worsened.
“He was having bother respiratory and it wasn’t signs that we had been used to seeing,” mentioned Bowen’s spouse Nancy. “I introduced him to Piedmont Pressing Care, and the physician there accomplished an EKG [or an electrocardiogram] to see how his coronary heart was functioning.”
The EKG outcomes got here again irregular. In consequence, Bowen was rushed to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Middle’s emergency room (ER).
“After we obtained there, they requested me who my heart specialist was as a result of they wished to alert my physician about my EKG outcomes, however I didn’t actually have a heart specialist. I’d by no means wanted one,” Bowen mentioned.
He had all the time exercised usually, stayed up-to-date on his annual exams and had even had an EKG carried out earlier that 12 months as a part of his bodily.
On today, nonetheless, when Bowen arrived on the hospital, he was admitted to the Piedmont Athens Regional’s devoted heart-failure unit, shocked to study his coronary heart wasn’t pumping correctly.
“Our group discovered Mr. Bowen was experiencing coronary heart failure, which is what occurs when the guts can’t pump effectively sufficient for blood to flow into all through the physique,” mentioned Matthew Crim, M.D., heart specialist at Piedmont Coronary heart Institute in Athens. “Sadly, there wasn’t a transparent clarification as to what brought on this to occur, apart from the muscle mass round his coronary heart had considerably weakened.”
Dr. Crim labored to deal with Bowen’s coronary heart; nonetheless, as his coronary heart failure appeared to change into extra superior and extreme, Dr. Crim introduced in Catherine Marti, M.D., heart specialist and coronary heart failure specialist at Piedmont Coronary heart in Athens, for steerage. As the one board-certified coronary heart failure specialist within the Athens space, Dr. Marti manages the guts failure unit and its sufferers at Piedmont Athens Regional.
“It was clear his coronary heart was persevering with to say no in a short time, and we wanted to discover a therapy possibility that might work for Mr. Bowen,” Dr. Marti mentioned. “Throughout his hospital keep, we began treating him with an infusion that might assist blood movement extra simply all through his physique, however this therapy possibility is simply supposed to be a brief answer.”
The infusion, nonetheless, didn’t present the result that Bowen wanted. Dr. Marti talked with him and his household about subsequent choices, a few of which might require him to journey to Atlanta, dwelling of Piedmont’s flagship hospital – one thing that Dr. Marti’s coronary heart failure experience had allowed the household to keep away from up till this level.
They thought-about a left ventricular help gadget (LVAD), a mechanical pump implanted to assist the guts pump, in addition to the opportunity of including Bowen’s title to the nationwide coronary heart transplant listing. His age, nonetheless, was a limiting issue. “We realized that in an effort to be eligible for a coronary heart transplant, Tom wanted to be underneath the age of 70,” mentioned Nancy, Tom Bowen’s spouse. “He was already 69 and his birthday was somewhat greater than a month away. We had been operating out of time.”
Primarily based on these choices, Dr. Marti despatched the couple to be assessed by the LVAD and transplant group with Piedmont Coronary heart Institute in Atlanta, the place these more-advanced procedures could be accomplished. By this level, nonetheless, Bowen’s coronary heart was now not functioning by itself and his general well being was declining.
It was a particularly troublesome time for the household, however one side of the scenario provided a possible be aware of optimism.
“As a result of Mr. Bowen was affected by very superior coronary heart failure and he was on the end-stage of this illness, he was not solely eligible for a coronary heart transplant, however his title would immediately transfer to the highest of the listing. His want for a brand new coronary heart was that nice,” Dr. Marti mentioned.
Dr. Marti was in a position to seek the advice of with the transplant group at Piedmont Coronary heart Institute in Atlanta, and inside days of getting his title added to the listing, Bowen acquired a life-saving coronary heart transplant – simply three weeks earlier than he turned 70.
“We’d been by a lot in such a brief period of time, I nonetheless really feel like I’m coming to phrases with what had occurred to me,” Bowen mentioned. “I’m unsure I might’ve survived had I not been as wholesome as I used to be in any other case.”
Right this moment, Tom has slowly regained his well being after receiving a coronary heart transplant, in a position to cuddle his new child grandson that he wasn’t certain he’d even have the prospect to fulfill.
“Once I take into consideration this journey, I’m nonetheless so impressed by the unbelievable care I acquired. From the docs in Athens and Atlanta, to the Piedmont House Well being nurses and cardiac rehabilitation companies the hospital provides, the whole lot was superb. These groups made issues so seamless for my household throughout such a troublesome time, and the Piedmont Coronary heart group are really miracle employees,” he mentioned.
Bowen and his spouse at the moment are in a position to take pleasure in their days collectively, as he slowly rebuilds his energy and will get used to his new coronary heart whereas additionally relishing time with their household and beloved grandchildren.
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