Amidst Heart Failure: A Journey of Hopeful Treatment

February 27, 2024

Mr. Steven Gerhard Anderson shares with a bright smile, "Today, I feel much better than I did 8 months ago... There's no 100% guarantee of how long I'll live, whether it's another 5 years or 10 years, but as long as my doctors continue to treat me and my condition remains stable, I believe I can live for many more years without needing a heart transplant."
Mr. Anderson was diagnosed by the medical team at Bumrungrad International Hospital with amyloidosis, specifically AL type, a challenging and incurable disease. This condition results from an overproduction of amyloid proteins in the body, which accumulate in various organs, particularly the heart in Mr. Anderson's case. The accumulated proteins cause abnormal thickening of the heart, leading to insufficient blood pumping and ultimately heart failure.
Clinical Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tosapol Kerdsirichairat, a gastroenterologist, was part of the diagnostic team and referred Mr. Anderson to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Suwajchai and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Teerapat Yingchoncharoen, both experts in cardiology and renowned researchers in amyloidosis. Mr. Anderson recounts, "Unfortunately, there's no way to reverse the damage to the heart. There's no medication that can make the heart return to normal. I've undergone chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation to slow down the progression of the disease. At this point, all we can do is manage the symptoms. Amyloidosis is a complex disease, so my symptoms are quite challenging. I have two main issues with my heart: it beats too fast, yet my blood pressure is very low. Dr. Teerapat has to carefully balance my heart's function to maintain normal blood pressure without causing further complications. It's a delicate task, but he manages to keep my heart beating steadily within normal range. Everything is stable now."
The expertise and knowledge of the medical team ensure proper care for patients like Mr. Anderson. He praises, "I first came to the Heart Institute and met Dr. Suwajchai. He diagnosed me with amyloidosis and referred me to Dr. Teerapat. I'm highly impressed by Dr. Suwajchai. He's very kind and understands amyloidosis well. But Dr. Teerapat might have more experience with this disease. Dr. Suwajchai arranged for me to see Dr. Teerapat, who has been taking excellent care of me."
Exceeding Treatment Standards
Mr. Anderson reflects on Bumrungrad Hospital's treatment standards, saying, "I believe the treatment standards here are better than in America. The reason is the efficiency of treatment. The hospital has everything interconnected. If you need any tests or procedures like MRI, CT scan, or Echocardiogram, you can get them done quickly. If your doctor says you need a CT scan, a nurse just picks up the phone, and within 15 minutes, you're getting the scan. In America, you have to schedule weeks or months in advance unless you're an emergency patient. That's what impresses me the most here - the quick access to care and diagnosis. Another significant reason I chose treatment at Bumrungrad is the knowledge and expertise of the doctors. You may have the best tools, but if the doctors lack knowledge and don't have a good relationship with patients, those tools are meaningless. So, the doctors' knowledge is paramount. Since my diagnosis and treatment at the Heart Institute, I've found the doctors here to be incredibly intelligent."
Mr. Anderson's journey reflects not only the complexities of amyloidosis but also the hope and advanced care provided by Bumrungrad International Hospital's dedicated medical team.

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