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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

Lots of Living yet To Do

In May 2007, Kyle McGhee visited a local emergency department to be treated for a stomach virus, only to discover that he had far greater health problems.

"I was never a sickly person. I went to Hampton University on a football scholarship and have always been active and healthy. So that stomach virus may have saved my life," said McGhee. "Because that's when the doctors found that my heart was very weak and getting weaker fast. They tried medicines but without much success, so they referred me to Dr. Kasirajan. I first met with him on August 16, 2007, and that's when the adventure began."

'The adventure' is McGhee's description of his heart transplant experience, and a reflection of the upbeat, can-do attitude that has marked his progress, from evaluation to transplant to recovery.

"This was an easy decision for me," said McGhee. "My Dad was sick from heart disease for several years before he died. I saw how hard it was on my Mom, on the whole family. I wasn't going to put them through that again. Plus, I'm only 33 years old. I've got a lot of living yet to do. Thanks to team at this hospital, I have that chance."

When McGhee was admitted to Pauley Heart Center his condition was such that he was immediately placed on the waiting list for a donor heart and, in the interim, was implanted with the Total Artificial Heart.

"The TAH made an amazing difference," he said. "When I came to the hospital I could only walk for four minutes on the tread mill. Within two weeks I was up to 35 minutes. It didn't just keep me alive, it helped me get stronger, better prepared for the transplant."

"I am exploring my options, looking at what I want to do with the rest of my life. The rest of my life...doesn't that sound great?"

 

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