Atlanta, Ga. (July 11, 2013) – Newnan resident John Hobbs blamed his constant exhaustion and continuous struggle to complete everyday tasks on poor fitness but every time he tried to exercise more, he felt worse. When doctors at Piedmont Heart discovered the true cause of his exhaustion was a rapidly weakening heart, they implanted a life-saving heart device just in time.
“My doctors said I was basically a walking cardiac arrest waiting to happen,” said Hobbs. “Had I known the extent to which my health was in danger, I would have acted sooner. I thought I was just pathetically out of shape. After I was diagnosed and started medication, I’d work for an hour and a half and need a nap. Most days, just getting up and showering would be enough to do me in for the day.”
Nimish Dhruva, M.D., a cardiologist at Piedmont Heart of Sharpsburg, diagnosed Hobbs with cardiomyopathy, a disorder causing his heart to pump at only 30 percent functionality. To get better, Hobbs would need surgery to implant a cardiac resynchronization therapy device called CRT-D to regain heart function.
“Insurance requires patients like me to take medication for 90 days to see if the heart will improve without the device,” said Hobbs. “Fortunately, my heart was strong enough to make it a full 90 days but by the end of that time frame, my heart was only pumping at 15 percent function.”
Having been that close to complete heart failure makes Hobbs even more grateful to be alive today. His father died at age 54 - the same age Hobbs was when he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy - and his grandfather also lost his battle with heart disease at just 47 years old.
“My grandfather died of a heart attack and my father of a heart aneurysm,” said Hobbs. “They’re unrelated heart problems to what I have but it still makes you think.”
As soon as the waiting period ended, Charan Kantipudi, M.D., an electrophysiologist at Piedmont Heart, successfully implanted the CRT-D into Hobb’s heart. For the first time in months, Hobbs felt his energy level rising and doctors were surprised when tests revealed his heart achieved full functionality.
“Advancements in medicine have brought us devices like the CRT-D, which helps us give people with heart problems a second chance,” said Dr. Kantipudi. “While patients typically see a marked improvement in heart function, we don’t always see patients’ hearts pump at a completely normal level like John’s did. If something like this happened to John 20 years ago, there is a good chance he wouldn’t be around today.”
For more information on heart health or to evaluate your risk for heart disease, visit piedmontheart.org.