Bart Rodr, a long-time resident of Edmond, Oklahoma and son of Vicki and George Hicks of Canton, GA, suffered a massive heart attack in 2009 at the age of 36. Bart did not have a history of heart disease, nor did he have high blood pressure or cholesterol. He and his family led a normal, healthy lifestyle.
Bart attended Edmond Public Schools until September 1989, when his family relocated to Roswell, Georgia. He finished his high school years in Alpharetta, Georgia where he met and married the love of his life, Jennifer. In 1995, they celebrated the birth of their first child, Nicholas. Bart and Jennifer relocated their family to Edmond, Oklahoma in 1998. In 2000, they celebrated the birth of their second child, Zachary. While working full-time and raising his family, thanks to some help from his employer, Bart was able to put himself through college. He obtained his MCSE Certification (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer). In 2005, Bart went to work for a design-marketing firm in Oklahoma City. By 2008, Bart was promoted to Information Technology Administrator.
On July 18, 2009, Bart while mowing the lawn, at his employers, began experiencing painful symptoms, he could not breathe and his head hurt. He thought he was having a stroke. He was rushed to the hospital ER, where after examination, the doctor labeled his symptoms as being over-heated and sent him home.
About nine hours later, Bart was still feeling extremely ill and his wife decided to take him to another hospital ER. As soon as he was examined, they discovered that a blood clot had broken loose in his leg and was lodged in the left anterior descending artery of his heart. They took him to surgery immediately where two stints were placed in his heart. However, because his heart had been deprived of oxygen for so long, the damage was extensive. They call this type of myocardial infarction the "widow maker" because people rarely survive. Bart did survive, though; but his life will never be the same. This "fluke" and the initial misdiagnosis have dramatically changed Bart's entire life.
Bart immediately had to change his lifestyle and eating habits. He was constantly sick and nauseous, had an erratic heartbeat, low blood pressure, and was very weak. He was put on a "heart healthy" diet where he lost over 60 pounds. He was given many medications to try to sustain his heart, but every heart medication is designed to treat high blood pressure, which Bart has never had. These medications would make his blood pressure drop dangerously low. He was rushed to the emergency room multiple times due to low blood pressure where he was given IV fluids and sent back home after his blood pressure had come back up. This was his "life" for over two years.
In August 2010, Bart's physicians decided to do exploratory surgery to see if there was anything they could do. What they found was that his heart was extremely weak and was barely functioning, which led to congestive heart failure. It was not getting better, but weaker every day. Bart's cardiologist, Dr. Phillip Adamson, was perplexed and called Bart an "anomaly". Dr. Adamson accepted Bart into a new clinical trial headed by his cardiac team in partnership with St. Jude's Hospital.
In October 2010, Dr. Collier attempted and failed to install a Heart Pod into his heart. In November 2010, they reattempted to insert the Heart Pod and this surgery was a success. Bart was the youngest patient to receive a Heart Pod. Heart Pods are a small device, about the size of a silver dollar that was designed to allow doctors and patients to monitor their heart conditions from home. They monitor blood pressure, Left Atrial Pressure and transmit data to a handheld computer. Data is then synced to a computer and sent to the treating physician. Data obtained from these devices help the physicians ascertain what medications are needed to prevent congestive heart failure and other heart conditions. The results from the Heart Pod were not good. Doctors did not give Bart long to live.
Because Bart's heart was actively dying, his physicians decided they were going to have to take more drastic measures. In September 2011, Bart underwent open-heart surgery to implant an LVAD, better known as a mechanical heart pump, after which he was kept in ICU for six weeks. In November 2011, the first LVAD failed and they rushed him back to open heart surgery to replace it. An LVAD is a "bridge" to a heart transplant, as it is a temporary device that will only last three to five years. Bart no longer has a heartbeat or blood pressure. He carries around his life in a bag...two large batteries and a miniature control system (computer) attached to some leads that are attached to his mechanical heart pump implanted in his abdomen.
Bart is currently at home trying to lead a normal life. At least, as normal as he possibly can while he is waiting on a new heart. His family has incurred a huge amount of medical expenses. Jennifer's insurance has only covered a small portion of these expenses. There will be more expenses, when a heart is found that is compatible.
| current weight: 211.0