Most musicians will say they want you to listen to their music. But one local and legendary blues guitarist says that you should listen to your heart.
Jimmie Vaughan, 72, is an Austin-born musician (and older brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan).
A few months ago, that may not have seemed possible.
Vaughan recently underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery performed by CTVS board-certified cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Mark Felger in December. His surgery was necessary due to a heart attack and a common condition known as stenosis (narrowing of the arteries which reduces blood flow in and out of the heart).
Jimmie admits to having led an unhealthy lifestyle for years from being on the road and touring. He also suffered two separate heart attacks before this last episode in December, which he says felt very different.
“Whenever I get a heart attack, I get the pain down the back of my arm or on one side or the other,” he recalls.
“This time I had both, and I had what felt like indigestion.”
Dr. Felger explains that “he had significant blockages when he came in, and that was when the decision was made that he needed bypass surgery.”
This type of open-heart bypass surgery that Jimmie had is called a CABG, or coronary artery bypass graft.
What is a CABG?
CABG is one of the most common heart procedures performed in the United States, and CTVS performs close to 1,000 of them each year. It is done by bypassing clogged coronary arteries with a healthy blood vessel graft in order to reroute regular blood flow to the heart. Healthy blood vessels are harvested from other parts of the body and then connected to both a spot beyond the blocked artery and then the aorta which is the largest blood vessel in the heart.
CABG can often be an effective option with very successful outcomes for those with severe heart disease and blocked arteries.
Following recovery, dedicated cardiac rehab (designed to specifically strengthen the heart muscle), and healthy lifestyle changes, can provide patients a new lease on life.
“The whole reason for doing this is to get people back to the lifestyle they want to lead without the fear of having another heart attack,” says Dr. Felger.
Since his surgery, Jimmie is back doing what he loves most. He credits the love and support of his wife, Robin, and his diligent efforts during cardiac rehab for gifting him with a second chance.
He urges others to listen to your body and “get your heart checked out if you are experiencing issues, and to do what they (the doctors) say.”
“I mean. Here I am. I’m great. I’ll be good for 10, 15 years!”
And that is truly music to our ears.
Jimmie recently shared his story with KEYE-TV (CBS). You can watch the story here.