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Network: February/March 2008 

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Warren Stewart
Walk this Way: Heart patient undergoes quadruple bypass, returns home within three days

 
Warren Stewart’s 2007 Christmas cards show him with his wife, Nancy, standing in front of the Sentara Heart Hospital sign.

“Every year for the past 30 years, I’ve selected a photo that depicts a significant event in my life for that year to update my family and friends,” the 61-year-old Norfolk resident explains. “This year, there was nothing more significant than my heart treatment at Sentara.”

This past fall, while walking and playing golf, the retired school superintendent experienced tenseness in his chest and difficulty breathing. He called his Sentara primary care physician, who sent him for tests. A heart catheterization showed four blocked arteries. He was immediately admitted into Sentara Heart Hospital, where he underwent a quadruple bypass (where surgeons take segments of healthy blood vessels from another part of the body to detour around the blocked parts of the four arteries).

No worries
The surgery was a success. “I was comfortable. The staff wasn’t worried, so I wasn’t worried,” he says. “They were kind, so I felt good.” After an amazingly short hospital stay of only three days, Stewart was at home recovering and back to walking every day. He credits the skill of the physicians, along with his daily exercise, for the fast recovery.

“I work hard at staying in shape, and I went into the surgery healthy,” he explains. “That, combined with the expertise of my doctors, made it so smooth.”

Even before this occurred, Stewart was no stranger to heart disease. His father died from a heart attack at age 35, and his mother suffered six heart attacks over the years. Because of an earlier injury to his carotid artery, Stewart sees his primary care physician regularly. He describes his entire experience with the Sentara staff in three words: caring, competent and committed.

“Their high level of competence was obvious. Their caring showed, and that really made a difference,” he explains. “And I felt their commitment in every interaction.”

The next 20 years
As far as his health, he says he’s breathing easier. His physicians told him he’d be around an extra 20 years, and he plans on spending much of that time volunteering and giving back to the community.

“I’ve always felt that good things operate from the heart. Before, I used to do good things with a good heart, and now I can do many more things with an even better heart. I’m grateful for that.” 

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