Boone County man returns to work 3 weeks after heart-stopping procedure

4 Your Health

BOONE COUNT, Ind. — A Boone County man is back on the job at a massive construction project in downtown Fishers despite having heart surgery just three months ago. 

Joe Aimone is a fit and active 64-year-old. He also has a big job as one of two superintendents at the First Internet Bank construction site.

After a routine checkup this past June, he discovered he had a heart murmur. His physician at the time didn’t hold back on the seriousness of Aimone’s condition.

“He came in and told me it’s pretty bad,” said Aimone. “I was like, can you, what does that mean? How bad?

“‘You need to get it fixed.’”

Aimone was diagnosed with a leaky mitral heart valve. Small amounts of his blood were going in the wrong direction because of the leak.

Dr. Marc Gerdisch of Cardiac Surgery Associates, operated on Aimone’s heart.

“In order to do the surgery, we decided to stop the heart for a bit,” explained Dr. Gerdisch. “We worked inside it. So going through one small incision, we’re able to arrest the heart, stop the heart, open the heart and perform surgery on the valve.”

During the two-hour procedure at Franciscan Health, Dr. Gerdisch changed the shape of the leaflet of the valve so it could function properly again. The anesthesiologist performed a nerve block on Aimone so he could be pain free for a length of time and get back to work. Dr. Gerdisch never had to open Aimone’s chest, which aided in his recovery.

After four days, Aimone was able to go home, and Dr. Gerdisch gave him his personal cellphone number.

“He answered,” recalled Aimone, “and he calmed my nerves and told me that it was normal to have some pain.”

Aimone returned to work three weeks after his mitral valve was repaired.

Dr. Gerdisch encourages anyone with shortness of breath to be evaluated. He added that anyone with a diagnosed murmur should have an echocardiogram.

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