Jim Horstman

First post: Sep 8, 2017 Latest post: Nov 7, 2017
Dad has had diabetes for quite some time and a history of high blood pressure as well but overall, has been in pretty good shape up until  recently.  He's been following with his primary doctor at Avera but back in January, found out he qualified for VA benefits so went there for an initial evaluation and physical.  They heard his murmur, which he knew he had, and wanted to get an echocardiogram.  They did that and were concerned about his mitral valve regurgitation so went ahead then and did a TEE (a different kind of echo to get better pictures) and found that he had some regurg but his heart function was normal so wanted to just monitor it and recheck in July.  Around the end of April/beginning of May, he started having this cough that would usually happen at night and keep him awake. No chest pain or shortness of breath but just this cough. He went into urgent care and they did a chest X-ray and noticed some fluid on his lungs and thought his heart rate was irregular so he followed up with his primary doctor then and he was in A-fib. His doctor got an echo and his heart function was much lower at about 20-25%. You would never guess this looking at him though! He was still out mowing the lawn, taking our dog for walks, and doing typical day to day things. This is really where everything got started though and landed us where we are today.  From there, he was referred to the heart hospital where they did an angiogram and found that his coronary arteries also weren't the best so he was going to need bypass surgery and get his mitral valve fixed.  However, with his heart function so low to begin with, they weren't comfortable doing it there and referred us to Mayo. This really caught everyone off guard. It took about 3 weeks for Mayo to review everything so we got another opinion in the meantime at Sanford and they agreed that Mayo was the place he needed to be so here we are.  We came up a few weeks ago and met with the surgeon who felt that surgery would go well and he was pretty confident that the valve could be fixed and he would hopefully have a typical recovery.  Surgery was scheduled for Sept. 5th. Dad was not looking forward to this AT ALL especially since he wasn't having any symptoms. However, we knew that doing nothing wasn't an option so here we are. 

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