FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Randy Hines learned in 2021 that without a new heart he would likely die within a year. Today he feels like a new man.
Hines, 67, was an elementary school physical education teacher for the Fort Wayne community
Schools, so health and fitness had always been important to him. But in his mid-fifties, he began to notice some changes.
“I used to jog my dog five miles a day,” Hines said. “In addition to teaching, I mowed lawns, painted
houses and furniture delivery. All of a sudden, everything started to go downhill. I went to play golf and I would like
start huffing and puffing from the first swing as you struggle to complete nine holes. I knew things weren’t going well.
Hines’ symptoms eventually led him to a cardiologist at Lutheran Hospital and a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy and premature ventricular contractions (PVC). Cardiomyopathy is a disease that prevents the heart from pumping blood to the body and can lead to heart failure. PVCs are extra heartbeats that disrupt the regular rhythm of the heart.
After years of managing her conditions with medications, procedures, treatments and devices, Hines’ health
eventually got worse to the point that he was told during a visit with his cardiac care team in the spring of 2021 that he
was in “end-stage heart failure”.
Patients with heart failure are frequently hospitalized, have a reduced quality of life and are at higher risk of
premature death. When medications and therapies are no longer effective in treating advanced heart failure,
as in Hines’ case, the next step could be a heart transplant.
“When someone is terminal, that means their one-year survival rate is only 20%,” says Dr Asim
Mohammed, Medical Director of Heart Transplant Services at Lutheran Hospital. “Hines was really in the end stage of heart failure. It was crucial that he was referred to our center at the right time by his primary cardiologist.
At that point, Hines decided to see if he qualified for the heart transplant program. The process included a
number of examinations and consultations before being placed on a waiting list for a new heart. Hines was approved,
but due to his declining health, he spent nine weeks waiting in intensive care at the Lutheran Hospital. Finally a
a matching donor heart was found and transplanted in a 15-hour operation by Lutheran Hospital Heart
“Lutheran Hospital is the only hospital providing heart transplant services in northern Indiana,” said
Mohammed. “We are proud to have been able to play a part in Randy’s journey to good health so close to home.”
Hines said his new heart allowed him to be the same active man he was before his health issues began.
He started playing golf just three months after his transplant and is looking forward to warmer weather to get back on the course. He also walks two to five miles every day, works out regularly at home weight training, has a hobby of woodworking and grandchildren who keep him active.
“I can do anything now.” said Hines. “I have my life, my children and grandchildren to see and help raise. the
the operation gave me back my life. It’s a wonderful gift, and I’m really grateful.