CTX man who survived 16 heart attacks finally received a heart t - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

CTX man who survived 16 heart attacks finally received a heart transplant

Source: KXXV Source: KXXV
TEMPLE, TX (KXXV) -

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, and every year, more than 600,000 people die from it.

As National Heart Health month ends, doctors remind everyone why they should take extra care when it comes to their heart health.

Heart attacks happen when less blood flows to your heart and it suddenly stops working.

This is a topic Ralph Shrum is very familiar with being a person who’s survived about 16 heart attacks.

Shrum has experienced progressive heart disease for almost 15 years. Now he’s encouraging everyone to preserve their health so they don't experience what he did.     

“I was scared to death, I just knew I was going to die,” Shrum said.

This illness runs in his family and last year his got so bad it affected his daily activities of living.

"The problem was when I laid down I couldn't breathe. When I went to the doctor, my Doctor said Shrum you aren’t going anywhere until we get you a heart,” Shrum said.  

Shrum was immediately placed on the list to receive a heart transplant. Dr. Chittoor Sai Sudhakar, a cardiothoracic surgeon from Baylor Scott & White, said getting the procedure was critical to Shrum’s health.

"It is the gold standard for treatment of advanced heart failure,” Dr. Sai Sudhakar said.

However, getting on the list was the first of many steps to receive that new heart. First Shrum had to lose weight, lower his blood sugar, and most importantly maintain a strong family and social support.

Without family support doctors said there would be no procedure. Shrum had that support through multiple bypass surgeries, but he said nothing compares to the quality care he received from the team that gave him his new heart.

"I had never felt so safe in my life than when I met up with these doctors I would recommend them to anyone. New heart new life,” Shrum said.

Dr. Sai Sudhakar said there are many requirements for people looking to receive a heart transplant. Some of the guidelines that make people eligible include those who are typically under 70-year-old, have a strong support system and are non-smokers.

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