72-year-old returns to active life following coronary artery bypass surgery

Heart Health

by Baylor Scott & White Health

Feb 17, 2017

Danny McCoy is not your average 72-year-old.

The retiree who previously worked in recreational property management in Houston completed a half-marathon without any prior training while in his fifties. He lived an active life.

Prior to his race, Danny thought it wise to request a stress test through his primary care physician. Now, more than 20 years later, he decided it was far time to undergo a second stress test.

The results of his recent stress test prompted his physician to refer him to a local cardiologist, who in turn, referred him to Robert Stoler, MD, an interventional cardiologist on the medical staff at Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital.

Dr. Stoler administered Danny’s angiogram, an x-ray that uses a special dye to take a photograph of the heart vessels, and after review, the news came as a shock: It was discovered that he had coronary artery disease.

“I didn’t smoke, and I didn’t drink, so I thought I would do just fine,” Danny said. “I was just stunned.”

Danny was then referred to J.C. MacHannaford, MD, a cardiac surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Hamilton Heart & Vascular Hospital and Vice-Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery for Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, and together, they determined coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) was the best treatment option for his condition.

Danny was nervous prior to surgery, but it was the environment at Baylor Heart & Vascular Hospital that gave him ease. On November 30, 2016, he received a quadruple coronary artery bypass.

“I didn’t smoke, and I didn’t drink, so I thought I would do just fine,” Danny said. “I was just stunned.”

“The next morning during the admittance and preparation period, it was obvious that the cleanness, the precautions, the sanitizing, the efficiency of the technicians and the skill sets of the nurses and doctors, are what make Baylor a leader,” Danny said.

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is one of the most common cardiovascular surgery procedures in the United States. During the CABG procedure, a healthy artery or vein from the body is connected, or grafted, to the blocked coronary artery. This healthy artery or vein bypasses the blocked portion of the coronary artery, creating a detour for oxygen-rich blood to flow to the heart muscle.

“Coronary artery bypass grafting is the most common procedure performed by the cardiac surgery team at Baylor Dallas,” Dr. MacHannaford said. “Our group of skilled and specialized clinicians perform as a well-oiled machine. With the help of advanced technologies and techniques, we are able to provide quality healthcare that every patient deserves.” 

bypass surgery
Danny with his wife, Linda, and son, Colin.

Linda, Danny’s wife, was by his side throughout the entire journey to ask questions and provide support.

“She’s one of those who will take care of you and provide that governing that you need,” Danny said.

Following his procedure, he began cardiac rehabilitation at Baylor Heart & Vascular Hospital, then transferring to a rehab facility closer to his home in Arlington, Texas. Out of his local rehab group, Danny claims he “had the best scar.” 

“The thing that impressed me was that when we were navigating through the hospital, employees would stop on their own time and ask us if we needed help.”

“My background is in property management, so I worked in the hospitality industry and understand the importance of customer satisfaction,” Danny said. “The thing that impressed me was that when we were navigating through the hospital, employees would stop on their own time and ask us if we needed help.”

Prior to this surgery, Danny McCoy had no known cardiac history, was in excellent health and exercised regularly. His family had a history of high cholesterol, and his mother had a stroke in her 80s. Because of Danny’s procedure, his older brother and younger sister are now both revisiting their physicians to check their health.

The couple was so grateful for the care Danny received at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas that they personally delivered treats and a thank you card to the surgeon’s office for giving Danny life.

“I was just privileged to be at Baylor,” he said.

Danny and his wife, Linda, a former elementary school teacher, met in junior high school and waited until after college to marry. They have three daughters, one son and seven grandchildren. This September, they will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary — a celebration of life and love.

Some scars are worth having. Danny McCoy knows this to be all too true.

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