A fitness instructor who recovered from Covid had to undergo a heart transplant after being struck by a rare disease as a result of the virus.
A fitness instructor who survived Covid had no choice but to undergo a heart transplant after the virus resurfaced months later, attacking his organs.
Derek Stipetich, 48, from the United States, led a very active life. Not only was he a personal trainer, regularly going to the gym, but he also thrived on extreme adventures.
However, the father-of-two slowed down a bit in November of last year when he was diagnosed with Covid.
Derek described the symptoms as mild, but still struggled to lift his usual amount of weight during training.
âThe weights that I used on a regular basis were totally too heavy for me,â he said. KDKA.
Two months after his diagnosis, his wife and daughters harassed him to see a doctor for a checkup as he began to struggle with fatigue.
Doctors told him he was in good health, but in April Derek caught a cold and couldn’t sleep.
“I woke up and felt like I was suffocating,” he told KDKA.
His family were convinced he had Covid again and after going to the hospital Derek turned out to be very ill and in cardiogenic shock.
It was later revealed that his kidneys, liver and heart were failing – and the only way to keep him alive was to have a heart transplant.
“His heart had given way to a point where he needed to have his life supported by a mechanical heart pump,” said Dr Azam Hadi, cardiologist specializing in heart failure at Allegheny Health Network.
Dr Hadi, who was part of the team of medics working on Derek, said they were able to reverse his shock process to the point of recovering his organs, except for his heart.
Derek then had to undergo a transplant and after eight days of artificially pumping his heart, a donor heart arrived.
Dr Hadi said the father’s condition was unlike anything he had seen before, with medics believing the virus was lying dormant in Derek’s body.
He told the US network he had seen a lot of heart problems from Covid-19, including death, but it was a first.
âThe dormant virus continued to inflame the heart. And the inflammation, in turn, weakens the heart, scars and cannot pump, âsaid Dr Hadi.
Derek said he didn’t know it had set in somewhere inside him and being told it destroyed his heart, he wants as many tests as they can do on his old heart.
Currently, her old heart is being used for testing by the medical community.
The father of two is recovering well and is just starting to regain some of his mobility after his rescue.
Derek also focuses his attention on his business – Pumping Adrenaline Beating All Odds – something he started before his medical ordeal.
He has since turned it into a non-profit organization for the benefit of heart transplant recipients, especially those associated with Covid-19.