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Following Heart Transplant, Bowling President Eager to Return to the Lanes
Article ID: 709576
Released: 13-Mar-2019 2:05 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Loyola University Health System
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TYPE OF ARTICLE
Heart Transplant, Left Ventricular Assist Device, LVADs, bowling, Heart Failure
Newswise — MAYWOOD, IL. -- Joe Janusz, president of the Peoria-area River City Bowling Association, is looking forward to bowling again following his heart transplant at Loyola University Medical Center.
"When I throw that first ball, I will know I've completed my recovery," he said. "And I plan for it to be a strike."
Mr. Janusz, 51, lives in Metamora, IL, east of Peoria. He has had heart disease since 2003, when he underwent his first surgery. By 2018, Mr. Janusz was experiencing advanced heart failure. His heart's ejection fraction had dropped to 10 percent, meaning the main pumping chamber was pumping only 10 percent of the blood in the chamber with each contraction. (A normal ejection fraction is about 60 percent.)
Mr. Janusz had to quit his store manager job and give up bowling. He had swelling in his feet and was so short of breath that merely walking to the end of the block left him winded. On dozens of occasions, his heart went into a life-threatening arrhythmia, resulting in electric shocks from his implanted defibrillator to restore a normal heart rhythm.
While waiting for a heart transplant, Mr. Janusz underwent surgery at Loyola to receive an implanted pump called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The device helped the heart's main pumping chamber pump blood to the rest of the body.
After a donor organ became available, Mr. Janusz underwent a heart transplant on Nov. 8, 2018. Today he feels great. The swelling is gone, he's breathing freely and he no longer has trouble staying awake.
"I'm getting my life back," he said.
Loyola cardiologist Alain Heroux, MD, a heart failure and heart transplant specialist who treats Mr. Janusz, said Loyola "has the multidisciplinary expertise to care for patients such as Mr. Janusz who come to us for treatment of complex heart conditions."
Before he got sick, Mr. Janusz bowled up to three times a week, with an average score of 213. He has competed in 25 national tournaments and was a member of a bowing team that won a Peoria tournament. But it will be a few more months before Mr. Janusz's sternum has healed enough to allow him to throw a heavy bowling ball.
Mr. Janusz has high praise for his Loyola physicians, including Dr. Heroux; electrophysiologist Smit Vasaiwala, MD, who treated Mr. Janusz's irregular heartbeat; cardiothoracic surgeon Edwin McGee, Jr., MD, who implanted his LVAD; and cardiothoracic surgeon Jeffrey Schwartz, MD, who performed Mr. Janusz's heart transplant.
Mr. Janusz said his nurses are great, too. "The care I received them was amazing," he said. "I felt like I was part of a family."
Loyola offers the highest level of integrated, multidisciplinary care for patients with advanced heart disease who may quality for a heart transplant, and Loyola is known for taking on the most challenging cases.