A few years ago, after receiving treatment for a health condition, 73-year old John Bonte of Cedar Rapids was diagnosed with a very low heart rate. A low heart rate means your heart isn’t pumping blood throughout the body fast enough.
That summer John went on RAGBRAI and experienced chest pain while riding up steep hills but the pain went away. Chest pain is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart and can be a symptom of coronary artery disease. It may feel like squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness, or pain in the chest. It can be sudden or recur over time. After RAGBRAI, John went to see a cardiologist in Clinton, Iowa and after review, a stent was placed in his right coronary artery as they found a blocked artery.
The next summer, John returned to the RAGBRAI route with steep hills and once again, experienced chest pain that went away.
After a move to Cedar Rapids over a year ago, John began seeing St. Luke’s Cardiologist Ankur Vyas, MD as his chest pain was becoming more often and worse. Dr. Vyas performed an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound image of the heart and an angiogram which is imaging of the heart vessels during a cardiac catheterization to evaluate where John’s heart problems were stemming from.
The test results indicated that John would need open heart surgery and he was referred to Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Garry Weide, DO with Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa. Dr. Weide is one of three cardiothoracic surgeons who perform open heart surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital
“John presented to his cardiologist with classic complaints of chest pain with activity,” said Dr. Weide. “After a thorough evaluation, we found John had two blockages in his heart vessels and a tightening of his aortic valve. We considered numerous options including more coronary stents followed by a transcatheter aortic valve replacement vs open heart surgery but given his situation for a long-term solution, open heart surgery with a valve replacement would be the best option.”
John had open heart surgery on October 30, 2019. “After a pleasant five day stay in the hospital, I was allowed to return home.” said John.
“Following surgery John recovered extremely well,” said Dr. Weide. “He completed cardiac rehab and was excited to get back to leading his active life.”
“I really enjoyed rehab.” said John. “They were awesome at answering my questions. The exercise helped me regain the strength I had lost and the education piece helped me develop a healthier lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise. My heart condition was really slowing me down. Since the surgery I have regained my endurance and strength and I am eating healthier. I would advise others to exercise daily, eat healthy meals, cut back on salt and fat and keep your weight down. It’s important to take the advice of your doctors and take your meds as necessary. I’m thankful to St. Luke’s and that open heart surgery is available.”
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