Brad, a physically active man in his 50’s comes into Billings Clinic West SameDay Care with an unexplained fever he’s had for days. The physician assistant, Chris Smith, who examines Brad, recognizes that it’s serious because of Brad’s heart history and consults cardiologist Dr. Barbara Dudczak.

The next morning she runs a transesophogeal echocardiogram on Brad’s heart and admits him to the hospital. Because of his fever, she calls in Dr. David Graham, an infectious disease specialist. After blood tests Brad is diagnosed with both endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the heart valve, and mitral valve prolapse.

Dr. Dudczak says his heart valve is very diseased and heart surgery is inevitable. She believes Brad is a lucky man to have come to Billings Clinic at this stage. Dr. Graham orders four weeks of intravenous antibiotics for Brad before surgery.

Dr. Scott Millikan, assisted by Dr. Scott Needham, both cardiovascular surgeons, replaces his diseased valve with a new artificial tissue valve.

After cardiac rehab, Brad is taking care of himself, seeing his Billings Clinic primary care doctor, and working out regularly at his gym. He’s back to his job as a video producer and is even taking dancing lessons with his wife (one of those things he said he’d never do!). Brad is living life to the fullest.

“I was absolutely confident in the Billings Clinic team,” said Brad. “The doctors are lifesavers. But to me, the heroes are the nurses and staff that helped me through the recovery process. Knowing that this big team of people is at the Billings Clinic is pretty darn comforting.”

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