Passionate about workouts and grateful for life saving heart surgery | Ascension

Passionate about workouts and grateful for life saving heart surgery

The benefits of heart transplant and Jeff’s journey to a new heart.

Jeff has enjoyed living a physically active lifestyle and is passionate about working out. That changed suddenly when he noticed he was having trouble walking up the stairs and was short of breath. A series of tests revealed he had a rare form of heart disease called amyloidosis. It was then that Jeff and his wife, Shannon, learned he would need a heart transplant.

Shannon remembers vividly the words of Jeff’s doctor. He said, “we are here to save Jeff’s life and to make him feel better. And that is what we are going to do.” These words made all the difference as Jeff and his family prepared for his procedure.

Care teams at Ascension Seton take the time to understand you and your health to provide compassionate, personalized heart care that’s right for you -- from routine heart care and screenings to specialty care, and advanced surgical care like heart transplant.

After just six days on the transplant list, Jeff got the call.

“I was crying tears of joy,” he says. “I couldn’t talk. I was just so dang happy and relieved.”

“Many of the patients I see come in with symptoms that are affecting their everyday lives,” says Dr. Clay Cauthen, an Ascension Seton transplant cardiologist. “It is always rewarding to see them feeling much better after an operation. That is why it is so important to see a doctor when you notice symptoms or recognize that something is different.”

Personalized care from trusted cardiologists and vascular specialists

Cardiologists and vascular specialists at Ascension Seton sites of care are trained in the latest heart care testing, treatment and procedures. From managing high blood pressure, pulmonary hypertension or high cholesterol to helping prevent heart attack or stroke, our care teams listen to understand you, then provide the care that’s right for you. And if surgery is needed, our doctors are trained in minimally-invasive and advanced surgery options to help treat AFib and other heart rhythm disorders, structural heart damage and heart failure.

Ascension Seton is home to the only heart transplant center in Austin and a heart care program focused specifically on the needs of women. And as part of a national network of specialists, sharing best practices and treatment options, the Ascension Seton advanced heart care program is close to home for patients.

Committed to your safety while you are in our care

Many people might have concerns about coming into a doctor’s office or hospital right now. But delaying important heart care can lead to more serious health concerns. If you have delayed care, specialists at Ascension Seton are here to work with you on a care plan built specifically for you. Our ongoing commitment is to keep patients safe while in our care, just as we have already done for other patients walking through our doors.

Ascension Seton has strict precautions in place for the safety of patients in our care:

  • Screening patients, visitors and staff before they enter a facility.
  • Rigorously cleaning and disinfecting all areas more often.
  • Designating separate care areas for patients with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Staggering appointments and maintaining proper social distancing in waiting rooms.
  • Continuing to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

We will also continue to monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and adjust our safety practices accordingly.

And please know that if a patient needs heart surgery or a procedure, we’re by their side with compassionate care. During surgery, the care team keeps family members and loved ones updated on progress so they can rest assured their family is in good hands. And we encourage our patients to stay in contact with their family and friends virtually throughout their stay.

Heart transplant gives Jeff a second chance at life

After a successful heart transplant procedure, Jeff has his life back thanks to his caring Ascension Seton heart care team.

“I felt from the beginning I was in unbelievably good hands,” he says.

With his new heart, Jeff was able to get back to the things he enjoys in life and spend time with Shannon.

“We will never be able to repay them for what they have done for us,” says Shannon.

Our heart care specialists work with patients on a personalized treatment plan that can help prevent the need for ER care. For consultations and follow-up care, ask about virtual visits. And if you need to come for an in-person visit, know that we have precautions in place for your safety while in our care.

Find a heart care specialist today at

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, go directly to the ER or dial 911.