Living an Active Life with Heart Failure

BIDMC Contributor

JUNE 22, 2021

Louise and Jim Rand standing on their back porch
Jim Rand and his wife Louise enjoy an active life in Windham, NH.

Jim Rand first sought treatment at BIDMC after a minor heart attack almost 30 years ago, when he was in his late 40s. It was a wake-up call that led him to the CardioVascular Institute (CVI). Today, he remains a longtime patient and says, "I would never go anywhere else."

To Rand, a former public works superintendent and business owner, it's all about the relationships. "I can't say enough good things about the BIDMC staff," he says."They have always been there for me and my family."

For the past several years, the 78-year-old Windham, NH, resident has been a patient in the CVI's Advanced Heart Failure Program, which includes cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, nurse practitioners, nurses, a pharmacist, social worker, and nutritionist who work as a team to provide patients care. Rand says he has always been impressed not only with his providers' clinical expertise but also with their compassionate care.

"I always have lots of questions," says Rand. "Before my retirement, I was a civil engineer and surveyor. Because I knew how plumbing systems worked, when I had my first angioplasty, I kept asking my doctors about the device they were using and how it was going to unblock my artery," he laughs. But, joking aside, he notes, "I truly value my relationship with all the CVI doctors, nurses, and medical staff."

Help for a Failing Heart

In 2017, Rand was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, a condition that can develop when the heart becomes too weakened or stiff to adequately pump blood to meet the body's needs.

"Although congestive heart failure is a chronic condition, it can be successfully treated and managed," explains Advanced Heart Failure Specialist E. Wilson Grandin, MD, MPH, MEd."In Mr. Rand's case, his condition had led to the development of a heart rhythm disorder known as a ventricular arrhythmia."

In 2018, Rand underwent surgery to implant a dual-chamber ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) to help protect him from dangerous heart rhythms such as ventricular tachycardia. The following month, he became one of the CVI's first patients to be implanted with a CardioMEMs device, which remotely monitors the pressure in the lungs' arteries, providing data that indicates when heart failure is growing worse. CardioMEMs enables Dr. Grandin and the heart failure team the opportunity to make adjustments to Rand's care to avoid complications and minimize heart failure symptoms.

"Mr. Rand transmits his readings every day, which helps in our management of his heart failure and guides us on dosing his medication. This makes a big difference in helping to keep his heart failure under control," says Advanced Heart Failure nurse practitioner Monique Nestor, NP.

'I'm So Very Grateful to BIDMC'

"In early 2020, Mr. Rand developed progressive aortic valve stenosis that was leading to worsening heart failure symptoms," explains Grandin. "After review by the team and discussions with Mr. Rand, and we decided on a minimally invasive treatment instead of open-heart surgery, because of his age and other medical conditions." The Structural Heart Team, led by interventional cardiologist Marie-France Poulin, MD, and cardiac surgeon David Liu, MD, performed a successful transcatheter aortic valve (TAVR) procedure in February 2020. "The TAVR led to substantial improvement in Mr. Rand's symptoms and a significant reduction in his lung artery pressures," says Grandin.

"Every time I've needed surgery, the BIDMC hospital staff has made things so comfortable," says Rand, adding that, over the years, he has observed steady advances and shortened lengths of stay during his hospitalizations.

Today, the father of two grown sons and two grandchildren is looking forward to celebrating his 55th wedding anniversary next year with his wife, Louise. "I'm so very fortunate to be married to her, and I'm so very grateful to BIDMC for the care that has made this possible."

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About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,800 physicians and 36,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.