After suffering a seizure in 2000, Brain learned that a virus had destroyed the lower third of his heart. He received a defibrillator and a dual pacemaker. More than a decade later, his heart function began to deteriorate further. So his doctors in the Lehigh Valley recommended that Brian go to the Temple Heart & Vascular Institute—where, at the age of 70, he received a heart transplant in December 2013.
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“When I got to Temple it was like night and day, I guess because they specialize in transplants,” says the East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, resident. “The thought of having a heart transplant was overwhelming, but I had such great trust in my own doctors and the direction in which I was going,” says Brian, whose heart transplant team included René J. Alvarez Jr., MD, Medical Director of the Heart Failure/Cardiac Transplantation Program and Yoshiya Toyoda, MD, PhD, Surgical Director of Heart & Lung Transplantation.
With his new heart, Brian and his wife Linda now walk for exercise and spend as much time as they can with their family: picking their grandchildren up at their bus stop, taking them to the movies and on picnics and, during the summer, occasionally watching them overnight.
“They’re our joy and our life,” says Brian, “and I just feel so blessed. That’s why I want to do anything I can to help to encourage people to be donors and, for those who need a transplant, to accept that situation as well.”
He is also grateful for the Temple Heart & Vascular Institute. “Dr. Toyoda is a world-renowned heart surgeon, and I cannot say enough about all the doctors, the nurses and the whole staff and the care I received from them,” he says. “They’re all spectacular and they were there every minute of the way for me.”