SURVIVOR STORY: Hamid Mahdavy

Name:                   Hamid Mahdavy Location:             Wilbraham, MA (The Berkshires) Diagnosis:          Left Ventricular Hypertrophy Transplanted:   November 2, 2016

During his sophomore year in college, Hamid Mahdavy learned he had a rare heart condition called Left Ventricular Hypertrophy1. He was told many things at the time…that very little was known about the condition, that he should be able to lead a normal life, that he should have an echocardiogram2 every three years to keep an eye on his heart, and that he definitely shouldn’t become a professional athlete.

All was well with his heart and life was good for many, many years.

Right before turning fifty, Hamid set a goal to do a 100-mile bike ride known as a “century.” And that is exactly what he did. Hamid did his century in October 2005 and, again, life was good.

Things took a turn a year and a half later when he developed a severe cold and upper respiratory infection. Shortly after he recovered, he noticed he had developed atrial fibrillation3 (AFib). The exact cause of the AFib is still unknown to this date, but his viral infection seems the most likely culprit.

For nine years, Hamid and his care team tried various strategies to control his irregular heartbeat. He had three ablations and tried a multitude of antiarrhythmic drugs…but the AFib persisted. It eventually started causing his heart muscles to weaken and stiffen, which led him into end-stage heart failure.

In 2013, Hamid collapsed at work and was rushed to the hospital where he was implanted with an ICD. Later, the ICD was changed to a three-wire advanced device to try resynchronization therapy.  Despite all the efforts and various procedures, Hamid’s heart continued to weaken at a rapid rate.

Hamid was hospitalized twice in late 2014 and early 2015. Each time they removed in excess of twelve pounds of fluid from his body. It was at this point Hamid was told he needed a heart transplant. He was sent to Tufts Medical Center in Boston for an evaluation. Hamid was in pretty bad shape. He had also developed stage 3 kidney disease due to the insufficient perfusion of blood to his kidneys. In September 2016, Hamid was implanted with an LVAD. Two months after that—on November 2, 2016—Hamid received his heart transplant.

The transplant surgery went well. But Hamid had a very difficult post-surgery recovery.  He spent a total of nineteen days in the CTCU (Cardiothoracic Critical Care Unit) and was intubated nine days post-surgery.

After fully recovering from his surgery, Hamid made good on a promise he made during his darkest days at Tufts—that he would give back if he survived this ordeal. He has been active in fulfilling that promise ever since as an active member of Team HeartBrothers and with New England Donor Services (NEDS).

Hamid has developed a very close friendship with Charlene Slaver, the mother of his donor.  When Charlene got married in August 2019, Hamid had the honor of walking her down the aisle and the privilege of being the Best Man to the groom Ken Roosevelt. Hamid and Charlene remain close and text and call each other frequently.

Since his heart transplant, Hamid has welcomed three beautiful grandchildren to the world. If he is not volunteering for the HeartBrothers or for NEDS, you can be sure he is somehow involved with caring and nurturing his grandchildren…who are giving their granddad’s new heart quite a run for its money…

1: Left Ventricular Hypertrophy is a disease in which the muscles of the left ventricle become enlarged.

2<: An Echocardiogram is an ultrasound procedure that shows how the heart muscle and valves are working.

3: Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib for short, is a fast and irregular heart rhythm.

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