Lifesaving cardiac surgery let this patient walk his daughter down the aisle

The July wedding of his daughter Molly was one of the most memorable events of Dr. George Chapar’s life. So was the lifesaving cardiac surgery at Stamford Hospital that allowed him to walk her down the aisle.

Last spring, George, a psychologist, started feeling rundown.

“It all started in early March,” he began, recounting the feeling of illness that struck him suddenly one afternoon. “My wife realized that something was wrong with me, and she called the ambulance that took me directly to Stamford Hospital. When I got there, I had a fever of 104.”

Comprehensive cardiac care

Little did either of them know that George’s fever stemmed from a potentially fatal infection in one of his heart valves. “I would have died had she not called the ambulance and had it not gotten me to the hospital as fast as it did,” he said.

At the hospital, he became a patient of cardiologist Dr. Joonun Choi, of Stamford Health’s Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI), the most comprehensive heart and vascular program in Fairfield County.

After a week in the hospital under exceptional care of Choi and the HVI team, George’s initial infection resolved, but a follow-up exam showed that his heart was still laboring “Dr. Choi had me come back to the hospital because my heart functioning wasn’t as good as it should have been,” he explained.

Choi ordered three diagnostic tests: a cardiac stress test, an echocardiogram, and finally, an angiogram. “It was the angiogram that revealed that three of my cardiac arteries were blocked terribly — the first artery was blocked 100%, the second, 90% and the third, 70%,” George explained. “I was on borrowed time,” he added, “and I was frightened.”

The next day, George met with Dr. Michael Coady, Stamford Health’s chief of cardiac surgery and co-director of the Heart & Vascular Institute. “Dr. Coady explained why stents wouldn’t work and that I needed surgery,” he said.

A lifesaving surgery

Yet, the timing of the surgery concerned him because of its proximity to his daughter’s wedding. “I told Dr. Coady that my daughter’s wedding was (10 days later). I said, ‘Please let’s operate as soon as possible,’ and Dr. Coady said, ‘I think we’ll be OK.’”

On July 12, George underwent the surgery that saved his life. “Ten days later I was able to go to my daughter’s wedding and walk her down the aisle, which I very much wanted to do,” he said, holding back tears. Barely six months later, he feels better than ever. “The amazing thing is that now that I’m beyond surgery and going to cardiac rehab, you almost can’t tell I even had an operation, that’s how good Dr. Coady is,” he said. “He and everyone at Stamford Health took very good care of me.”

Our Physicians

Joonun  Choi
Cardiovascular Disease

(203) 348-7410

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Michael A Coady
Cardiac Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery

(203) 276-4400

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