Man with rare condition spreads awareness after unexpected open-heart surgery
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – February is focused on heart health and a Baton Rouge man is sharing his story after an unexpected, rare heart diagnosis and emergency surgery.
Doctors sprang into action to save his life.
Colt Fore from Denham Springs has two young children named Cassius and Cecile.
“Growing up, I played ball,” said Colt. “I did everything you could think of that a young person would do.”
The 38-year-old started having chest pains in July of 2022. It wasn’t until a month later when Colt walked into Dr. Nakia Newsome’s office at Baton Rouge General. Despite having a family history of heart disease, it was his first time seeing a cardiologist.
“It was very unique because when he walked into the office, he was having no symptoms,” said Dr. Nakia Newsome, a Baton Rouge General Cardiologist. “No chest pain, no shortness of breath, and the classic signs we look for when people have major heart problems.”
Colt was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder where his aorta isn’t as strong and easily able to tear.
“The vessel coming off the heart was torn,” said Newsome. “The heart muscle itself is connected to the aorta which is the major vessel that brings blood flow to the rest of the body. That had a tear at the meeting of the heart.”
Colt and Jenny had to cancel dinner reservations that night. The checkup led to a swift move down to the ER, into ICU, where Colt would undergo open heart surgery with the Khan brothers to save his life.
“If the aorta ruptures, you have internal bleeding, and you will immediately pass away,” said Dr. Imtiaz Khan, a Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Baton Rouge General. “So, we go in and cut out that part of the aorta and replace it, so it’s kind of a cloth tube graft. Usually, cut out the affected aorta, sew this in place, and it kind of takes the place of the native aorta.”
“Waterproof graft that the blood will go through, that the blood will go in from the bottom and come out from the top,” said Dr. Azeem Khan, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Baton Rouge General.
“I was mainly thinking about how to get fixed to where I could start picking them up again and running and playing with them more than worrying about myself,” said Colt.
After the surgery and recovery process, daily activities got easier for him. In all this, he found out his two young children have the same heart condition.
“My little girl and my little boy have it, and we’ve already sent them to the pediatric cardiologist and orthopedics, and so they’re tested, and they will monitor their hearts,” said Colt.
The life-changing event and early genetic testing potentially saved their lives. Above all, he’s grateful to be a part of his family of four at home again where he can enjoy date nights with his wife Jenny and games with the kids.
“Don’t put off checkups and don’t wait until the last minute,” said Colt. “There were a lot of prayers answered coming out the way I did.”
If you have any heart concerns or questions, call Baton Rouge Cardiology Center at 225-769-0933.