A Near Total Eclipse of the Heart - PIH Health

Skip to Content

Published on February 10, 2017

A Near Total Eclipse of the Heart

Richard Fajardo

Richard FajardoAt 44-years-old, the last thing one would expect is to be on the verge of a heart attack, yet that is exactly the condition Richard Fajardo faced in April. Richard had been feeling tired but attributed the fatigue to his diabetes. Jackson Ma MD, an Independent Practice Associate (IPA) doctor of PIH Health, referred him to Suydhaker Nayak MD, a PIH Health cardiologist.

“Prior to the evaluation, Richard had no indication of any heart condition,” said Dr. Nayak. “Yet, a nuclear scan stress test and an angiogram showed that 90 percent of some of his heart vessels were clogged and he needed immediate open heart surgery.” The severity of his condition prevented less invasive procedures such as an angioplasty or placing a stent. Instead, physicians in the catheterization lab inserted an intra-aortic balloon pump to support his heart. “It was a near miss situation because he presented with very vague, atypical symptoms. Fortunately we caught Richard’s heart condition in time,” added Dr. Nayak.

Shortly thereafter, Richard was admitted for quadruple bypass surgery, which turned into a sextuple (6) bypass procedure. “We bypassed almost everything in his heart. He could have gone home in three days, but complications after the surgery required he stay longer,” said Eduardo Tovar MD, cardiac thoracic surgeon at PIH Health who performed the surgery. Due to brittle diabetes (severe and hard to control condition), a minor stroke not related to his surgery, high cholesterol and anemia, Richard remained hospitalized for 20 days. “It is very unusual for such a young man to have so many health issues. But, he received sustained care after surgery from an excellent team of staff and nurses,” explained Dr. Tovar.

“I missed my family during that long hospital stay,” said Richard. “But the staff was great and it turned out to be an awesome experience. I got to know everyone at the hospital and everyone felt like family.” Richard continues cardiac rehabilitation therapy at PIH Health and believes that his positive attitude is helping him recover.

For Richard, early detection by experienced doctors and the skills of his surgical team were critical to preventing a “silent heart attack. “It’s been a life-changing experience. I quit smoking two days before the angiogram and have not smoked since,” added Richard. He also joined Mended Hearts at PIH Health Whittier Hospital to give support to other heart patients.

For more information about PIH Health’s heart care or to make an appointment, contact our experts at 562.698.0811 Ext. 11240.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Follow Us

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Instagram

Don't miss any Healthy Living Online posts - Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter.