Tags: Heart Disease | randy | travis | heart | transplant | cardiomyopathy

Randy Travis: Will He Need a Heart Transplant?

Wednesday, 10 Jul 2013 01:09 PM

By Charlotte Libov

Country music star Randy Travis had a device implanted in his chest that helps his heart pump – a sign he is “extraordinarily ill” and may eventually need a heart transplant, a top cardiologist tells Newsmax Health.
Travis, 54, is suffering from congestive heart failure caused by viral cardiomyopathy, a disease that weakens the heart after it is attacked by a virus.

UPDATE: Travis suffered stroke Wednesday night and underwent surgery to relieve pressure in his brain, his publicist said.
“Quite obviously, doctors are doing everything they can for Randy Travis,” said Harvey Kramer, M.D., senior physician and director of cardiovascular disease prevention at Danbury (Conn.) Hospital. “They don’t put in this device unless you are extraordinarily ill. They just don’t do it.”  
Doctors implanted what is known as a LVAD, or left ventricular assist device, into Travis’ chest on Monday. The device, which takes over part of the heart’s function, is the same type as one given to Dick Cheney before he underwent a heart transplant last year.  
These high-tech devices, powered by battery packs worn outside the body, can save heart patients who are at “death’s door,” said Dr. Kramer. However, their long-term use carries potentially life-threatening complications from infection and stroke, he said.

Travis suffers from a condition in which the heart becomes too stretched and weakened to pump blood effectively throughout the body, said Dr. Kramer, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Vermont. However, cardiomyopathy, while life-threatening, is often treatable.
 “The LVAD could be left in for days, months, or even a year or more, to give his heart time to recover, and then it could be taken out, and then he wouldn’t need a transplant. That would be the best-case scenario,” he said. 
If Travis does need a heart transplant, he would be placed on a waiting list. While it’s not known how long the wait is in Texas, where Travis is hospitalized, donor organs are apportioned by need. Having an LVAD would put Travis near the top of the list, Dr. Kramer said.
The fact that the performer has a history of heavy drinking “is not a deal breaker for transplantation but could be a consideration if his liver has been affected,” Dr. Kramer said.
Travis’ diagnosis of viral cardiomyopathy is a vague, catch-all term that doesn’t point to a specific cause, he said.
“Viruses can indeed cause cardiomyopathy, but it’s also a term that doctors use when they can’t find any other explanation for the condition, said Dr. Kramer.

Travis was in good health until three weeks before being hospitalized when he contracted a viral respiratory illness, according to his doctors.
“I’m a huge Randy Travis fan and I have been forever,” said Dr. Kramer, who bought tickets for the singer’s current concert tour. “I’m just hoping that with time, and a little bit of luck, he’ll get back on his feet and be able to sing again.”

UPDATE: Travis suffered stroke Wednesday night and was undergoing surgery to relieve pressure in his brain, his publicist said.
SPECIAL: Prayer Changes Your Brain in 4 Astonishing Ways — Find Out How

© 2015 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Lynch Pledges Independence If Confirmed as Attorney General

Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 10:56 AM

Under pressure from Republicans, Loretta Lynch promised a fresh relationship with law enforcement and with Congress on W . . .

Koch Brothers Budget $889 Million for 2016

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 16:27 PM

Freedom Partners, the political operation run by the Koch brothers, has budgeted $889 million for its political activiti . . .

Steve Forbes to Newsmax TV: Scott Walker Made 'Huge' Iowa Impact

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 15:04 PM

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker emerged from a political pageant in Iowa over the weekend looking like a contender for the p . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved