Heart transplant

Local man awaiting heart transplant

by Leigh Ann Maynard

On December 4, 2020, Harrison Edwards’ world changed.

Edwards recalls: “I was very out of breath, I felt like I was going to pass out, my chest was heavy. I also had an extremely fast heart rate and low oxygen saturation.

Edwards, who has lived in Turbeville with his wife Victoria of two years and their three young daughters, was diagnosed with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy. This is a term that includes all causes of decreased heart function other than those caused by heart attacks or blocked arteries. The general term is congestive heart failure, also known as CHF.

Three months after the diagnosis, Edwards was on his sixth hospital stay. Her physician, Dr. Patrick McCann,

“came to my room and said we needed to have a talk, and he explained everything to me. They wanted to do a transplant immediately, but due to my old habit of smoking cigarettes, I wouldn’t be a candidate until I quit smoking for a year. To keep my body healthy enough and to prevent multiple organ failure, they fitted me with an LVAD.

LVAD stands for left ventricular assist device. It is a mechanical pump that was implanted in Edwards’ heart to help pump oxygen-rich blood through his body as well as to prevent blood from backing up into his lungs. Edwards said, “I had been coughing up blood every time I went to bed at night for two months before the device was implanted.”

On March 31, 2021, Edwards underwent open-heart surgery. He described it by saying:

“I slept 38 hours. During the operation, the doctors discovered a huge blood clot in my left ventricle. My cardiothoracic surgeon told my wife and my father that they did not know how I was able to be as active as I was Even with the small amount of activity I did I was just a massive stroke waiting to happen and if the stroke hadn’t killed me , it absolutely would have left me with side effects for life.

At just 25, Edwards has been on the heart transplant list for a month. “We actually found out my wife was pregnant with our third baby girl just three days after they woke me up for surgery. My three daughters, aged nine months, five years and two years, allow me to continue. Due to their young age and being in a two year situation, I have made many promises to my daughters that I plan to keep. I have been so limited due to my condition and what I am allowed I fight every day towards my goal of a transplant so I can be the dad I always wanted to be and keep the promises I made to them.

Heart transplants are expensive and due to Edwards’ medical condition, he is unable to work. There is a go fund me account https://gofund.me/2ee9615b set up where people can donate funds.

A fundraiser will also take place this Saturday, September 17e at Piggly Wiggly in Manning. Lunch plates will consist of BBQ chicken, hash and rice, coleslaw, rolls and green beans. The barbecue will take place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and the plates are ten dollars each.