Stories of Impact

Sharon and Lou DeGuarde's Story

When he was a child, Lou DeGuarde had a bout with rheumatic fever that permanently damaged his heart valves. The result was an irregular heart beat (AFib) and having to live at risk of 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," said Lou. This was because years earlier, Kirshner twice performed life-saving heart surgery on Sharon's father – the second time came after doctors in Florida said treatment was utterly impossible.

Lou ended up undergoing a double-valve replacement and a Maze procedure (also called a surgical ablation). And after a two-week recovery at Rochester General Hospital, he was back home.

"Everyone treated me as if I was a member of their own family," said Lou. "Nurses often stayed past their shifts just to sit and talk with me, and I can't tell you just how much I appreciated that."

Grateful for the care Lou received, the DeGuardes made a gift to the Sands-Constellation Heart Institute to help provide hope and critical treatment to future patients.

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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