Heart & Vascular

Patient Story: Michael Logan

On May 7, less than two weeks after heart surgery, Michael Logan and his bass fishing team won sixth place out of 178 participants in the Angler's Choice Tournament at Smith Mountain Lake.

"Before, when I would go on fishing expeditions, it would take me three or four days to fully recover," says Logan, 43, who used to have severe mitral valve leakage. Today he recovers at a normal pace.

Logan's condition used to cause half the blood being pumped by his heart to flow backward. It made his heart work twice as hard and left him constantly drained and short of breath. A further complication was the fact that he'd been diagnosed with a heart murmur at a young age.

It was when he could barely keep his head up, literally, that he decided to go to the doctor. An abnormal echocardiogram spurred his physician to refer him to a cardiologist.

"It didn't sound like a regular heartbeat at all," says Logan. "It sounded squishy."

"Over time, Michael's murmur had worsened to the point that his valve was leaking so badly that he was short of breath," says Carilion Clinic cardiothoracic surgeon W. Scott Arnold, M.D., who performed Logan's surgery.

Dr. Arnold also couldn't be sure whether he could repair Logan's mitral valve-or would have to replace it-until surgery was under way. "There was an 80 percent chance I could repair it successfully," Dr. Arnold told Logan.

In fact Dr. Arnold was able to repair the valve by removing a leaking segment and placing a small ring around the valve to reshape it. Following a three-day stay in the hospital, Logan was home on a Friday and in church on Sunday.

"When it comes to the mitral valve, far and away, repair is a better option than replacement,' Dr. Arnold says. For one thing, replacement requires patients to take blood thinners for the rest of their lives- which presents its own risks and complications. 'For someone young like Michael, we really wanted to strive for a repair," Dr. Arnold says.

Logan is thankful he avoided a replacement, and his one-a-day baby aspirin is the sole reminder of his past heart condition. He is also able to exercise without problems. "I was extremely impressed with Dr. Arnold," says Logan, whose Catawba-based machine-shop business keeps him on the go. "This is very personal to him and that means a lot. I felt very comfortable."

"I feel better than I have in a long time."

Carilion Clinic Living
Fall 2011