Rob Johnston became a police officer when he was 19 years
old. But, even outside of work he had always been active - playing sports,
running and lifting weights. The fact that doctors told him in fourth grade
that he had a heart murmur didn’t hold him back, so he thought he had outgrown
For most of his life, Johnston had experienced general
fatigue and sleep problems, but he thought this was normal due to his line of
work. At the young age of 35, he was caught off guard during a routine physical
when he was diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation.
After his diagnosis, he went to Minneapolis Heart Institute®
at Abbott Northwestern Hospital where he met with cardiologist Michael Mooney,
MD and cardiothoracic surgeon Robert Farivar, MD.
Johnston was fortunate to be able to see Dr. Farivar, who is
one of only a handful of surgeons in the country who performs minimal access
mitral valve surgery. This technique uses a smaller than normal incision, which
is more difficult to perform, but allows the patient to heal faster.
Following his surgery, Johnston stayed with his parents who
live in Backus, Minn. Fortunately, Minneapolis Heart Institute® has a clinic in
Crosby, so Johnston did not have to travel far for his cardiac rehabilitation
appointments twice a week.
Three months later, Johnston returned to the
force, able to do desk work, and a month later he returned to full duty. The
fatigue that he felt before his surgery is completely gone and he is finally sleeping
well – something he was not used to. Johnston says, "now that I know the new
norm, I feel completely different. I had no idea how different I could feel."