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VCU Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

VCU Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

The Patient Experience

Ten years and going strong!

Greg Lowe celebrated the 10th anniversary of his heart transplant on September 21, 2010.

It's a rare week that goes by without Greg Lowe visiting the Cardiac Care Unit on Main 10. He's there to listen, sympathize, encourage and help heart patients and their families. He knows what it's like to have a very sick heart, a very long hospital stay, and receive a very special gift—a donor heart.

Greg's journey to transplant began in July 1997. He was 43 years old and father to eight daughters, ages six to 26, when he suffered a massive heart attack.

"I coded [cardiac arrest] in the ambulance, so they diverted me to MCV emergency department," said Lowe. "That was the beginning of my relationship with the incredible MCV heart team and a second chance at life. It has been a long road with plenty of bumps along the way. That heart attack pretty much destroyed the left side of my heart, so I became what they call a 'frequent flyer,' in and out of the hospital for surgery, procedures and medicine changes. In June, 1999 I was admitted so they could keep me and to await a matching donor heart. Fifteen months later, on September 21, 2000, Greg Lowe was transplanted. He went home within two weeks.

"The staff made this the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me," he said. "They were great to me and to my family. They educated us and helped us stay positive. That's very important, to stay positive and believe you will make it through. Every day becomes a gift."

"That's why I give back, why I have made volunteering my career. I would rather give back everything that has been given to me, to this institution, to the patients and their families, to the American Heart Association to help fight heart disease, to keep the technology growing. If I can be of any help in any way to people who come in and out of this hospital and have a new life, that's what I want to do."

 

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