Man in Lake Avon is grateful to be alive without a pulse

AVON LAKE, Ohio (WJW) – After dying many times, an Lake Avon The man says he’s grateful to be living this holiday and he hopes his story will inspire others.

Kenny Wagner, 58, is now back at Nick Mayer Ford. Looking at him, you would never know the length of health he has endured.

“I feel like a million dollars,” Wagner said.

Wagner has faced a series of lingering health problems.

In 2016, he suffered a heart attack that resulted in a coma for several days. Wagner says he actually died multiple times.

“I just feel grateful that God has given me the will to fight back,” he said.

Wagner took heart medication and participated in cardiac rehabilitation, and a year later, Wagner returned to work.

But his heart continued to decline and failed on this year’s Super Bowl Sunday, again leaving Wagner hospitalized and nearly dying.

Wagner’s doctors at the Heart Institute and Harrington University Hospital placed a mechanical device in the heart to help circulate blood.

“The heart is still beating, but essentially the pump is doing most of the work, circulating the blood,” said Dr. Michael Zacharias, cardiologist at UH.

The left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, now pumps blood continuously through Wagner’s body.

“They don’t have the traditional heart failure symptoms like they used to,” says Dr. Zacharias.

The patient also has no pulse.

“My pump is my pulse,” says Wagner.

The battery and controller that keeps the device running are still hidden under Wagner’s clothes.

LVAD is stabilizing his heart while he is awaiting a heart transplant.

“I’m on the transplant list, so until then it’s just a bridge,” Wagner said. “They promised that they would find my heart.”

Wagner was placed on the heart transplant list in August. University hospitals say patients could be supported with the device for months to years while waiting for a transplant.

“I just said, ‘What a great day to be alive,’ ‘ he said.

Wagner credits the strong support from UH’s bosses, family, first responders, and healthcare staff who helped keep him alive.

He said now he is living each day with a new purpose.

“My purpose is to inspire people and I just feel blessed and blessed to be able to do that,” Wagner said. “If you get sick, never give up. Never give up, because there is always hope.” Man in Lake Avon is grateful to be alive without a pulse


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