How a Fort Worth hospital saved a 24-year-old from heart failure

“I’ll be forever indebted to them. They will never know the level of indebtedness that I have to them for saving our boy,” Syd Grant said.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Hayden Grant thought he was the picture of health. 

His heart was telling him otherwise. And doctors in Fort Worth rushed to get a clearer picture why a 24-year-old fitness instructor was suddenly hours away from death.

“I knew this was life and death,” Hayden Grant’s dad Syd Grant said. “At that point we didn’t know that he was going to make it through the day.”

The fitness enthusiast and Marine veteran first complained of neck pain and migraines. Previous doctors visits yielded no definitive cause. But by the time the Grant family sought help at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth last March, time was quickly running out.

“I will applaud Hayden’s dad. Because he wanted a second opinion,” Dr. Salman Gohar said. 

Gohar had discovered that Hayden Grant suffered from myocarditis, inflammation of heart muscle and the heart lining likely caused by a virus, that was progressively compromising his heart’s ability to function. 

“When your blood pressure starts to drop, you are essentially seeing the heart sort of disconnect from the rest of the body,” Gohar said. 

“He got sick rapidly and was in cardiogenic shock,” he said of the sudden inability of the heart to pump enough blood. “And the mortality for cardiogenic shock once you progress into that is 60%.”

A heart biopsy revealed immune cells attacking and destroying healthy heart muscle. A VA-ECMO machine, veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, helped support his heart until steroids and other treatments could reverse the effects of myocarditis.

“When they were getting him set up to put him on the ECMO, they said ‘do you want a chaplain?'” Syd Grant said. “And I remember thinking, why do we need a chaplain? You know, do we need one? And he said ‘I think it’s a good idea.'”

“It’s a high-risk procedure, doing a biopsy on a beating heart,” Gohar said. “And that’s basically taking a piece off a beating heart.”

But thanks to the work of the medical team and Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center, the only cardiogenic shock center in Fort Worth, Hayden Grant has made a full recovery.

“I feel pretty much back to normal,” he said weeks after being released from the hospital. “A little bit of me feels like it never happened. Because I’m that much back to normal.”

Grant is now working out and training for fitness competitions again, without any restrictions.

“It was a miracle. Absolutely,” Syd Grant said. “I mean, he was hours from death. And he understands that he got a second chance at life.”

“It’s such a privilege to see him do well,” said Gohar. “Acute heart failure can affect people at any age. A center with a specialized team trained to identify and treat cardiogenic shock, is the best strategy to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with cardiogenic shock.” 

“I’ll be forever indebted to them. They will never know the level of indebtedness that I have to them for saving our boy,” Syd Grant said.

“Like I’ve told all my friends now, if you think something is wrong with your body, just go, listen to it,” Hayden Grant said. “Because had I not listened to it. I don’t know if I would be here today.”

Because even a picture of health can use a life-saving touch-up every now and then.

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