Gregory McKay’s Journey to Heart Recovery
Gregory McKay, 28, is a salesman from Fairmont, WV. In September 2021, after testing positive for COVID-19 and completing a 10-day quarantine, Gregory felt a sharp pain in his chest. The following day, he called a friend and said he was experiencing shortness of breath and was unable to get out of bed. His friend called 911 and paramedics transported him to a local hospital. Tests revealed Gregory’s heart was extremely weak, and he was transported to WVU Medicine in Morgantown, WV, for escalated care.
Gregory was diagnosed with myocarditis, likely due to COVID-19, multisystem inflammatory syndrome and pericarditis. His medical team inserted an intra-aortic balloon pump, but Gregory’s condition quickly deteriorated and he went into cardiogenic shock with a reduced ejection fraction of 25 percent.
Gregory was brought to the operating room where Dr. Luigi Lagazzi Garros implanted Impella 5.0® to allow his heart to rest. While on Impella® support, Gregory was able to stand and walk around the hospital unit. After four days of support, his heart function improved and Impella was weaned and removed. Two weeks later, Gregory returned home with his own heart.
Today, Gregory has normal heart function with an ejection fraction near 60 percent, and he’s back to working full-time. He enjoys spending time with his fiancée, Ashley, and planning their wedding.