Keith’s Story: A Chippenham Hospital LVAD Patient


(music) – Before the heart failure, back when I worked, I worked a lot of hours. 60, 80 hours a week. And so, I didn’t have much
time for other activities. But then, once I moved to Virginia my heart function had raised and I was doing a lot better. And I was feeling good and that’s when I started
doing a lot of hiking. – We first saw him
September 2018, I believe. He came in extremely short of breath, low blood pressure, fatigued. He was unable to get out of bed. He was so weak because
his heart was so weak. It couldn’t pump the
blood around his body. So we have some intervenous medicines that we call inotropes that help pump, make the heart pump stronger
and support the heart. So we started him on those medicines, we got rid of some of his fluid. He was having a lot of
arrhythmia problems. He has a defibrillator. Required several medicines and despite all these treatments he wasn’t getting any better. So we started discussing putting in this left ventricular
assist device or LVAD. When the heart gets weak
it gets big and dilated. It’s kind of like a big baggy structure and it can’t contract or squeeze. And this pump actually sucks the blood out of your heart and pumps
it back into your body. So it augments your heart and it takes over the function for the pumping part of the heart. And fortunately he did extremely well. He was probably one of our best patients. Got out of the hospital
within two or three weeks, now he’s hiking mountains. Which is pretty amazing! – I love doing hikes in the mountains so I got up early, got
there early in the morning and it was a tough hike cause I wasn’t completely healed yet. But I was determined to go. And so it was really hard
to make it to the top. Keith Hughes comin to ya
from the High Top Mountain Off the Appalachian Trail on
the Shenandoah National Park. Comin to the summit. Oh my god! (crying) And my plan was to thank all the doctors that got me to that point. That’s what I was originally gonna do. And then when I made it to the top and seen the overlook I just kinda, got so emotional, I lost it. It caught me off guard. I didn’t know it was comin. Sorry about that. I got a little emotional. Look at this! That is awesome! Thank you, Doctor Keller, Joan and staff. Doctor Gazoni and his staff, Doctor Johnson and the nursing staff at Chippenham. Thank you all. This is awesome! – To have the technology to
take somebody at death’s door and bring them back to life so they can have a relatively normal life, a longevity to his life, quality to his life, being able to enjoy it
with is family and friends. Being able to enjoy it with his pet. Those are all really important. Cause otherwise he wouldn’t
have had any of those things. And being able to do
that is very gratifying. – I mean, literally, I’ve
reached the top of the mountain. You know what I mean? It’s somethin’ I never, I was wonderin’ if I was ever
gonna be able to do again. – To be able to help somebody like that and bring them back to
a normal kinda lifestyle and the ability to do things that he wasn’t able to do
because of his illness. If we didn’t intervene when we did he probably would have passed away. I don’t think he would have survived. Now he can have a fairly normal life. So it’s an amazing feeling
that’s very heart warming. And it really makes you feel good and appreciated for what you do.

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