COLORADO SPRINGS — Imagine you're in your mid-50s and go to the doctor to get approved for a hip replacement, and you end up having lifesaving open-heart surgery instead. That's exactly what happened to southern Colorado resident Duane Myers.
Dr. Mark Bodman with the UCHealth Aspen Creek Medical Center in Colorado Springs is Duane’s primary care doctor. “Duane has been a patient for a number of years. He’d been dealing with chronic hip pain for years and was working toward getting a possible replacement.”
Duane knew it was a big surgery and wasn’t looking forward to it, but he hoped a new hip would help him return to an active lifestyle. “I had no cartilage in my right hip and severe osteoarthritis. I went in to find out what I needed to do for (hip) replacement. My doctor, Dr. Bodman, requested that I get a heart check-up because I have a heart murmur.”
Dr. Bodman says getting a cardiac clearance for certain patients before they undergo surgery isn't uncommon. “With anybody who has any kind of cardiac history going into a regular surgery, we like to get a cardiac clearance, just to make sure that they are healthy enough to go through the surgery because that's a big stress on you.”
Duane also says he was already keeping an eye on his heart health. “I have a family history of heart issues. My paternal grandfather died of a heart attack, and my father had two artificial valves in the 1990s, so we kept an eye on it.”
That’s when Duane says he knew something was up. “When Dr. Manhart listened to my heart his body language changed from, ‘Yeah this is going to be a piece of cake,’ to ‘We're probably going to have to go a little deeper.’ ”
Duane's next stop before hip surgery was a visit to his cardiologist and that's when Duane says the seriousness of his heart condition became apparent. “When I had an echocardiogram they told me my aortic valve was pretty well shot.”
Turns out that wasn't all that was wrong, and in our next story, Duane's heart surgeon - Dr. Peter Walinsky - outlines the challenges he faced during Duane's open-heart surgery to save his life.
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