Post Celebrates Seven Years With New Heart

By Jill Fennema –

Roger Post has had to learn patience in life. A degenerative heart disease destroyed his heart, and seven years ago, he had a heart transplant. While that operation went well, he has had to persevere through a second open heart surgery, numerous tests, and a life now regulated by daily oral medications.

Roger and Lorna Post moved to Edgerton in 2013. Their daughter, Renae, is married to Corey Van Stelten, who farms just outside of Edgerton to the northeast. Prior to that, the Posts lived in Clara City, Minn.

Roger, who had retired from farming near Prinsburg in 1997, was working for a printer in Willmar. He ran a large cutting machine. One day he went for a routine physical. It happened to be that his regular doctor was gone that day, so he had to see someone else.

That doctor was surprised to find that Roger had a very slow heartbeat. He sent Roger on to a specialist, who diagnosed him with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD).

ARVD is a rare disease in which the heart muscle of the right ventricle is replaced by fat and fibrous tissue. The hearts ability to pump blood is usually weakened. Patients with ARVD often have arrhythmias – abnormal heart rhythms – which can increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

The cause of ARVD is unknown. It occurs in about 1 in 5,000 people. ARVD can sometimes run in families. In fact, Rogers’s children have all been tested for the disease, and his son, Todd, also has a variation of the same disease.

The specialist Roger saw was from Abbott Northwestern. He came down to Rice Hospital in Willmar one day a week. Later that year doctors put in a defibrillator. That worked well for a few years. Then in 2009, they put in a defibrillator/pacemaker.

But a year later, his heart was failing fast and he found the slightest exertion would leave him breathless. In July 2010 he went to see his heart doctor, who told him that he probably would only have about two months left to work.

“He hit it pretty close,” Roger said. “By August I was done working. I just couldn’t do it.”

He had a battery of tests to make sure he was fit to be on the transplant list. Some of the things that doctors are looking for are if the patient’s other systems are all working properly and there is no cancer present.

Roger was declared a transplant candidate. Abbott Northwestern, the Mayo Clinic, and the University of Minnesota maintain a transplant list together. There are about 100 names on the list, and each year they get about 70 hearts.

For the complete article, please see the October 11th edition of the Edgerton Enterprise. If you do not currently receive the Enterprise, CLICK HERE for information on how to subscribe!

Roger Post after his heart transplant in 2010.

Roger and Lorna Post in their home in Edgerton. Roger had a heart transplant seven years ago and recently received a good report at his last checkup. (photo by Jill Fennema)