Scott Salow: Open-Heart Surgery

Ten Years after Heart Surgery and Stronger than Ever

Scott Salow is the superintendent for Homer Schools and coach of their baseball team. Ten years ago , he was one of the youngest people to have open-heart surgery at the Henry Ford Allegiance Heart and Vascular Center. Since then, Scott has changed his eating habits, significantly increased his activity level and lost more than 50 pounds. “I have never felt better, and I believe this whole experience has helped me appreciate my family and my students even more,” Scott said.

Scott was just 39 when he noticed pain and tingling in his left arm while doing yard work. “I had to take it seriously, because of my family history of heart disease,” he said. “My grandfather died of a heart attack at 38 and my dad had recently undergone open-heart surgery.”

When Scott went in for a stress test, he was unable to finish it, and he was sent to Henry Ford Allegiance Health for a cardiac catheterization—a test to check blood flow to and from the heart. The catheterization identified two significant blockages in Scott’s arteries that would require open-heart surgery.

Looking back, Scott remembers being “pretty terrified” by the news. “I was a young guy with a wife and two kids and had no idea how this would affect our lives,” he said. “I didn’t know then how much my energy and stamina would improve.” While waiting the eight days until his scheduled surgery, Scott ended up at the Henry Ford Allegiance Emergency Department with an anxiety attack. He was admitted to the hospital three days early.

“I had so many questions about recovery, death, quality of life, the breathing tube—you name it. But the Heart Center team completely eased my mind,” Scott said. “They treated me like I was the most important person in the world and never made me feel I had a stupid question.”

Cardiothoracic surgeon Vincent Simonetti, MD, further boosted Scott’s confidence by “walking me through the whole process and telling me exactly what to expect,” Scott said. “I bet him I would have the shortest hospital stay of any of his patients, but I ended up missing it by one day.”

Being able to stay in the same large private room and having the same care team for his entire stay was also reassuring for Scott,” who commented that “The Physician Assistants Chris Fegley and Ross Greenstein and the whole nursing team were amazing!”

Within six weeks of surgery, Scott was back to work. “I really do appreciate everything more now—my wife and kids, my students, even the little things that used to bug me. I see it all in a new and better light,” he said. Scott’s experience has also had a positive impact on his wife, Cammy, a registered nurse who transferred to the Heart and Vascular Center. She inspired Scott to start running with her, which has helped him achieve his optimal level of health.

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