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'Miracle Man' Discovers Heart Defect After Full Cardiac Arrest

Fayetteville, Ga. (January 30, 2018) Doctors at Piedmont Fayette Hospital call Walter Holston, Jr., “The Miracle Man.” Walter, a Fayetteville resident, went into full cardiac arrest one day in November at a gym in Fayetteville. Local paramedics and emergency medical technicians just happened to be at the gym as well and began performing CPR and using an automated external defibrillator (AED) on Walter while they waited for an ambulance. Walter was shocked by the AED six times before regaining consciousness at the Piedmont Fayette emergency department. Doctors called him the “Miracle Man” because he had been gone for so long and because they soon discovered that Walter had a defect in his heart, one that had gone undiagnosed since birth.

Anomalous Left Coronary Artery from Pulmonary Artery (ALCAPA) is a heart defect present from birth where the left coronary artery, which carries blood to the heart muscle, begins from the pulmonary artery instead of the aorta. Walter led a very active lifestyle and had no idea that he had this heart defect. Ryan Crisel, MD, a cardiologist with Piedmont Heart Institute, performed the heart catheterization that discovered this defect and was surprised to see that there was no damage to his heart and no blockages. Aside from ALCAPA, Walter had a very healthy heart.

“It is common for many people with this defect to have the tissue of their heart damaged, because the heart does not receive enough blood or the heart doesn’t receive enough oxygen,” said Dr. Crisel. “It’s amazing that Walter had lived with this defect for so long and that there was no damage to his heart.”

Walter recently started a 12-week program at Cardiac Rehab at Piedmont Fayette. It gives him a chance to work out again with confidence because there are people to monitor his heart and help him out if he needs it.

“The team at Cardiac Rehab, and really in every department, at both Piedmont Fayette and Piedmont Atlanta, are fantastic,” Walter said. “Everyone, from every doctor and nurse, to the people who brought me my food every day, has been amazing. The cultures at both hospitals are exactly the same. It has to be the Piedmont way. The care they provide is a true miracle.”

To learn more about cardiology services at Piedmont, visit piedmont.org.

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