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Steven Bixel – Open Heart Surgery Success Story

No gambling with my heart

Steven Bixel, double-bypass heart surgery patient success story at Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas, Texas

After his double-bypass surgery, Steven Bixel
has made serious changes to his  health
so he can live life to the fullest.

Only three weeks after double-bypass surgery, Steven Bixel, 48, was enjoying his first day back at work. His dedication to staying fit had gotten him there quickly, but the man known for pushing the limits was determined to take it easy.

Despite an unending itch to pick up a golf club, he wanted his heart to heal so he could concentrate on his real priorities: his two teenage daughters and the family business.

The heart health focus began three months earlier in August 2012, when Bixel experienced severe chest pain after playing golf.

“It was like someone was trying to open up my rib cage with a screwdriver,” the Midlothian resident says. A few days later, a stress test showed that his entire left arterial system was almost 100 percent blocked. Two specialists tried to open the artery, but the blockage was too calcified.

“They told me I was a heart attack waiting to happen,” Bixel says.

Weighing options

Bixel had two choices: He could go on medication and hope a heart attack didn’t strike, or he could opt for bypass surgery and some serious lifestyle changes.

“That’s like Russian roulette,” says Bixel, an avid skier and snowboarder. “All I could think about was sitting on a mountain at 10,000 feet, huffing and puffing and knowing in my mind that I might have a heart attack.”

Bixel chose the heart surgery through Methodist Charlton Medical Center’s new open heart surgery program. He also quit smoking and committed to lowering his cholesterol.

The successful procedure was performed Oct. 11, 2012, by Thomas Hoang, MD, FACS, independently practicing cardiothoracic surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Charlton. That very day, Bixel was breathing on his own and walking with the aid of a physical therapist. He went home three days later, started cardiac rehab Nov. 6, 2012, and has progressed with flying colors.

“The new open heart program at Methodist Charlton was well-designed,” Dr. Hoang says. “The staff was selected carefully to ensure we have good quality for patient care, and we have all the up-to-date equipment for standard open heart or bypass surgery. We’ve had excellent outcomes, including Steven’s.”

Living life to the fullest after successful open heart surgery

Bixel says his experience at Methodist Charlton was fantastic. “One of my nurses had had heart surgery, too, and she was really helpful in explaining how to handle the healing process,” he says.
The nurse’s advice: Don’t rush it.

“You can take everything for granted when things are running smoothly,” Bixel says. “When they’re gone, you realize how much they mean to you. My mental attitude, the people and activities I love — they have a lot to do with living a full life.

“When it came to my heart, I didn’t want to gamble on my life every day I woke up, especially when there was something I could do about it.”

If you’d like to do something about your heart health, Methodist Charlton can help. Find a physician on the Methodist Health System medical staff. 

From the spring 2013 edition of Shine magazine.

Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System or Methodist Charlton Medical Center.

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