Stan Haggett, Heart Surgery

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In May of 2010, just before his 90th birthday, Stan Haggett started feeling short of breath.

"We thought it was just indigestion," said his wife, Jane. Stan had never had problems with his heart before.

The condition continued for a few days and nothing seemed to help. The Haggetts called Stan’s primary care doctor, who advised them to go to Fletcher Allen.

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In the Emergency Room, they learned that Stan had 90 percent blockages in his arteries and would need surgery. 

Frank Ittleman, M.D., Fletcher Allen cardiothoracic surgeon and professor of surgery at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, performed an aortic valve replacement and a double coronary artery bypass graft procedure.  Stan’s aortic valve was not opening properly and he had high grade blockages in two of his coronary arteries.

The operation was a success. "They gave me great care," Stan said. "I can’t say enough about the nurses. They were understanding and kind. I felt that it was my job to be helpful to them and they reciprocated," he said.

Stan was also impressed with Dr. Ittleman, and the personal attention the surgeon gave him.

Today, Stan is recovering well. He goes to a cardiac rehabilitation program three times a week and is working to build back his energy and strength.

He and his wife enjoy walking around their property -- a mix of gardens and forest on 5 acres in Stowe -- and feeding the rainbow trout in their pond. He also can be found riding his tractor mower.

"I live in hope," Stan said. "Now that Dr. Ittleman has given me a new heart, I’m going on. I’m planning for 100."