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Cardiologist Explains Randy Travis’ ‘Unusual’ Condition

Randy Travis
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Bad luck is partially to blame for Randy Travis‘ downward spiral after catching a virus. A respected cardiologist named Dr. Marc Klapholz says viruses are rare in the summertime, and most don’t progress into the heart muscle. Travis was admitted to the hospital earlier this month with viral cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure which led to a stroke three days later.

Dr. Klapholz — the Chair of Medicine at Rutgers new Jersey Medical School — spoke to the South Jersey Times about heart troubles in general, suggesting Travis’ troubles could be following a similar path he’s seen many times before. Only a small group of people, he says, who catch a virus have it attack their heart. This can lead to the loss of heart muscle cells, which leads to the heart having trouble pumping.

From there, blood can back up and cause fluid in the lungs, or it can clot. The singer’s stroke “can possibly be related to a clot that developed in the heart, in part related to the severe pump dysfunction,” Klapholz explains.

The only treatment for the virus is medicine that enables recovery, as well as creating an environment that allows the heart to work efficiently. “One third of patients recover,” Klapholz says. “One third of patients stay at the level they are at and it can be OK or not, and the other third just get worse progressively.”

Travis’ medical team said they expect him to remain at the Heart Hospital for several weeks before beginning aggressive physical therapy. Dr. Gary Erwin expects it will be months before the singer recovers from the stroke. His condition following the stroke and subsequent surgery has only been labeled as critical and stabilized, with few details given.

Next: Sign a Get Well Card for Randy Travis

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