Stories of Impact

Lou & Sharon DeGuarde's Story

Lou DeGuarde suffered permanent damage to his heart valves caused by a bout with rheumatic fever when he was a child. A condition called AFib left Lou with an irregular heartbeat and a risk for numerous heart-related complications. At age 72, he began experiencing shortness of breath on a daily basis.

“My wife, Sharon, and I knew right away that we wanted Dr. Ronald Kirshner at Rochester Regional’s Sands-Constellation Heart Institute to handle my case. He had performed life-saving heart surgery on my father-in-law twice, miraculously devising a solution the second time when doctors in Florida told him treatment was utterly impossible. I was confident that I would be in excellent hands. Dr. Kirshner explained, step by step, his plans for fixing my heart while giving me a chance to ask a long list of questions.

“After my double-valve replacement and a Maze procedure, I stayed at Rochester General Hospital for two weeks. Everyone treated me as if I was a member of their own family. Nurses often stayed past their shifts just to sit and talk with me.

“I feel like a new man now with the energy to enjoy hunting, fishing, traveling with my wife and helping her with various projects at the hotel she owns— the Historic Naples Hotel.”

Ron KirshnerRon Kirshner, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgeon
“Patients like Lou with untreated AFib have an increased risk for complications during surgery. It’s important that we treat the AFib, using techniques like Maze before addressing other issues. Using Maze, I create a new set of electrical pathways to let electrical impulses travel easily through the heart.”

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