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Central Florida man survives ‘exploding heart’

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A Central Florida man has survived what doctors call an “exploding heart”.

This is the story of how Roy Reid is a living miracle.

“I had what’s called an acute aortic dissection,” he said. “What happens with an acute aortic dissection is your aorta splits open. It was like someone punched a hole in my chest and squeezed my heart.

Reid’s wife rushed him to Altamonte Springs Hospital.

“The dissection went from my carotid artery all the way to the root,” Reid said.

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He was then airlifted to AdventHealth Orlando, where a doctor sketched out Reid’s heart and planned how to fix it.

“The operation took six hours to repair the heart. Basically, they had to replace everything that was damaged, which is now about 25% of my synthetic core,” Reid said. “There was no prognosis for a positive result. If I survived this, I would probably need someone to look after for the rest of my life.

Reid was in an induced coma for a week.

“It’s a bit like waking up in the middle of a plane crash. There are all these things happening around you. You’re plugged into it all. Everyone tells you to calm down. You are paranoid,” he said.

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Now, three years later, Reid has no long term effects.

“I woke up as healthy as I could be for open-heart surgery,” Reid said. “My cognition is pretty much what it was before.”

Roy said he was grateful for the fear, giving him a totally different outlook on life.

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“It really reset the purpose I have in my life now, which is three simple ideas: to love people, to be grateful, and to give generously,” Reid said.

Wednesday marked three years since the life-saving operation. Reid has since lost 40 pounds. He now trains every day and often runs 5 km with his wife.

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