When Essam Awad came to the United States from Egypt to study at the University of Minnesota, he didn’t imagine that he would spend his entire career here. But that’s what happened. After receiving his Ph.D., he was asked to stay and teach medicine at the U of M. He accepted, and spent the next 40 years educating future physicians. Dr. Awad was fortunate to have remained in Minnesota, because when he needed a new heart valve, he was able to receive it without undergoing open-heart surgery. Thanks to research performed at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, Dr. Awad was able to undergo a minimally-invasive, low-risk surgical procedure – one that had him feeling better almost instantaneously. Dr. Awad began his journey to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation when he began feeling short of breath. The feeling persisted and worsened over the course of a year. His legs felt cold and achy. He knew something wasn’t right. His doctors prescribed medication, but Dr. Awad, who had undergone coronary bypass surgery more than a decade earlier, sensed that he needed a more permanent solution. After being told by three cardiac surgeons that he would have to undergo open-heart surgery to replace his heart valve, he found MHIF and Dr. Paul Sorajja. Dr. Sorajja performed the procedure, replacing Dr. Awad’s valve through an artery in his leg. The procedure was successful, and the results, according to Dr. Awad, were startling. “Immediately – immediately! – I felt a lot better,” he said. “It was like day and night.” In the year since his valve replacement, the retired 82-year-old has resumed his life. He exercises regularly and enjoys being active with his family, which includes four children and 10 grandchildren. “My condition has improved immensely,” he said. “That’s a big blessing. Dr. Awad is grateful to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, and to Dr. Sorajja, for helping him to regain his health. “When I saw Dr. Sorajja in June, I told him, ‘I wish I could do something for you like you did for me’,” he said.
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