At 55-years-old, Doug Winters headed into a regular checkup appointment fully expecting to walk out of the doctor’s office with a clean bill of health. His provider recommended routine tests, including his first colonoscopy.
During the procedure, Kyle Johnson, PA-C, noticed elevated blood pressure and ordered a stress test.
During the stress test, Winters walked for a long time and could not get his heart rate up. The team at Utica Park Clinic immediately identified an issue and examined the cause, finding a serious blockage in three areas in his heart. Johnson and his team at Utica Park Clinic explained Winters would need triple bypass surgery to remedy the problem.
“I was asymptomatic,” said Winters. “I didn’t have any telltale signs of heart failure – I didn’t notice shortness of breath, fatigue or anything like that, so it was kind of a shock to me. I’m just so lucky they found it.”
After hearing he needed bypass surgery, his mind immediately went to the high school basketball team he coaches and their upcoming season.
“I asked if I could put off the surgery because my basketball season had just started,” said Winters. “We had a great team and we were slated to be in Oklahoma high school basketball’s Tournament of Champions. My provider said, ‘Sure, we can wait two weeks.’”
Winters let out a small chuckle while recounting the story.
He realized his health was in critical condition and he may have to sit out the season.
Deciding to press forward with the procedure, Winters’ team at Utica Park Clinic referred him to Ajit K. Tharakan, M.D., at Oklahoma Heart Institute and the surgery was promptly scheduled for December 7, 2019.
“After finding the blockage with my stress test it was a whirlwind,” said Winters. “Once we got the surgery on the books, Dr. Tharakan put my wife and me at ease when he explained exactly what my situation was, why the procedure was necessary and what exactly they were going to be doing step-by-step. I didn’t have many questions after he explained it all.”
To his surprise, while performing the triple bypass surgery, Tharakan found a fourth artery that was clogged, making it a quadruple bypass surgery – rare for someone of Winters’ age and of seemingly good health.
Despite the unexpected finding, Tharakan was able to successfully remove all four blockages during the surgery.
“I had a super-fast recovery. I think even the doctors were shocked I was out of the hospital four or five days after my surgery,” said Winters. “The surgery team did such a good job of finding everything. I just bounced right back and had a great recovery.”
In fact, Winters’ surgery and recovery went so well, he was coaching again within five weeks of being released from the hospital and was able to finish out the season.
“It was a really special team for me,” said Winters. “I appreciated the fact that I got back in time to coach at the end of the season.”
“I give the team all the credit,” said Winters. “People ask me if I’d recommend them and knowing what they did for me in my life, I would say yes, the team at Oklahoma Heart Institute is the best around.”
For more information and to schedule an appointment at Oklahoma Heart Institute, call 918-592-0999.