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One couple, one year, two life-changing heart surgeries

Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center | Heart Care

While Fred Swan was going through 12 weeks of cardiac rehabilitation at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in 2010, staff came to know him not as Fred or Mr. Swan, but as something else.

The miracle.

"I don't know about that," said Swan. "I'm just a blessed man."

A retired administrator for a foster care agency, the now 70-year-old Swan had been attributing chest pain and shortness of breath in 2009 to heartburn and a slip in physical fitness. But Swan's cardiologist at Legacy Good Samaritan thought a closer look was in order and recommended an angiogram with the potential for a stent.

While the January 2010 angiogram went fine, during the stent procedure, Swan went into cardiac arrest.

Doctors and staff began what would become almost 40 minutes of CPR on Swan. Repeated attempts with defibrillators didn't help, and Swan was bleeding severely. When Andrew Tsen, M.D., arrived to begin emergency bypass surgery, Swan was, for all intents and purposes, dead.

However, Dr. Tsen and his team were able to operate successfully, and they stopped the bleeding through a last-ditch effort with Factor VII. Swan woke up four days later, and after several more days of recovery, he returned home to recuperate.

Although blind in one eye - the CPR ruptured his optic nerve - and now dealing with time agnosia, Swan has achieved a full recovery. He exercises regularly, paints and writes, spends time with friends and family, and looks at life a little differently now, more grateful to be able to do all of that.

His wife, Kathy, has a different perspective as well, and not just because of waht she went through with Fred. Less that a year after her husband's surgery, Kathy returned to Legacy to have cardiac surgery of her own after experiencing shortness of breath and a pulsing artery in her nectk. At her request, it was Dr. Tsen who performed an aorta and aortic valve replacement.

This time, everything went just as planned.

"Fred's was enough excitement to last forever," Kathy Swan said. "I told them I wanted boring, and that's just what we got."