Thankful Heart Surgery Patient Knows the Power of a Checkup

This Thanksgiving Jeremy Wiseman shares his powerful personal story about how a simple checkup with his primary care doctor helped saved his life, along with successful heart surgery at UConn Health. As a result, he continues to live life to the fullest with his family, and is able to enjoy his love of exploring the great outdoors.

Jeremy Wiseman, 49, of Hartford has always been very active and loves exploring the outdoors.

However, once in a while he started experiencing a “funky” kind of pain on the right side of his chest that would briefly come and go on occasion.

Jeremy Wiseman

To follow-up on the weird tightening chest pain, he visited his primary care doctor who ordered an imaging test just in case.

“My doctor called and told me I needed to stop working and lifting anything heavy right away and seek follow-up cardiac surgery care,” he says. “My scan showed at the top of my heart I had a dilated ascending aorta.”

Wiseman’s enlarged, bulging aorta put him at high risk for an aortic rupture or tear at any moment.

“I was kind of shocked by this news,” recalls Wiseman whose grandfather died of the same condition. He was later told by his doctors that it is a genetic condition that he inherited from his family.

In 2017, Wiseman had successful open heart surgery at UConn John Dempsey Hospital to repair his aorta before it burst. The dilated portion of his aorta was removed and replaced with a synthetic graft.

At UConn Health, Wiseman received a tailored anesthetic approach prior to and during his surgery which allowed for rapid removal of his breathing tube and recovery post-surgery, all while closely managing his postoperative pain. In addition, the surgical team was able to avoid the need for any blood transfusions during surgery. While Wiseman was on the heart-lung machine during the operation, advanced neurologic protection techniques were used to significantly limit any risk of neurologic complications.

According to David Rosinski, director of cardiovascular perfusion at UConn Health, the comfortable and speedy recovery seen with Wiseman was due to the state-of-the-art facilities and advanced cardiac care that UConn Health can offer.

UConn Health heart surgery success patient, Jeremy Wiseman, adventuring in his boat on Long Island Sound with his wife Sue Ann.

“It was an amazing experience,” reports Wiseman who had surgery on a Friday morning and was home by Monday. “It worked out very well. I was always very comfortable after surgery and UConn Health’s care was very attentive.”

With barely any symptoms prior to surgery, Wiseman’s message to others is to get a checkup.

“Get your body checked-out, especially if you have a family history of a heart or an aortic issue like my family did,” says Wiseman. “My story shows it pays off to get checked out by your doctor.”

Wiseman is happy to report since cardiac surgery at UConn Health he is back to full-fledged life and action.

“Life is all good,” says Wiseman, also a husband and father of three. “I have no restrictions at all.”

Each year UConn Health’s experienced cardiothoracic surgery team performs nearly 100 heart surgeries at the state-of-the-art UConn John Dempsey Hospital caring for patients in need of coronary artery bypass surgery, aortic valve replacement, and mitral valve repair.

To learn more about the cardiac surgery program at UConn Health, visit here.