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Patricia Garza – Open Heart Surgery Success Story

A mighty heart – Methodist Dallas heart patient Patricia Garza's story

Fatigue and weight gain were dragging Patricia Garza down. She was tired of being tired.

"I was feeling exhausted, with no energy at all, and was really gaining weight," she says. "Over two years, there was no lasting improvement. I couldn't work and was forcing myself to try to be active and happy, but I knew that things were not right."

Patricia Garza on Treadmill.

Then one week she experienced chest pain and pressure daily and struggled to breathe. "My doctor said one artery was about 95 percent blocked and I would need to go to a hospital," Garza explains. Her doctor also told her that she needed help to manage her heart disease.

As she and her husband drove home to Grand Prairie from North Dallas that day, they passed Methodist Dallas Medical Center with its familiar blue cross rising above the helipad for the trauma center. Garza's husband suggested she go there for her cardiac care.

"We picked the right hospital," Garza says. "They found the major problems with my heart and saved my life."

She had a heart catheterization followed by open heart surgery on Aug. 22. John L. Jay, MD, and Jay Wright, DO, independently practicing physicians on the Methodist Dallas medical staff, provided care.

"I was really excited that the problem was finally found and fixed," Garza says.

Not taking a second chance for granted

"Patricia's case shows that it's important for women at any age to be aware of their heart disease risk," Dr. Jay says.

To help keep her heart disease under control, Garza turned to Folsom Fitness Center at Methodist Dallas for cardiac rehabilitation. She praises Fitness Center Manager Cathy Spranger for the guidance she provided for her new lifestyle.

"Cathy gave me good advice and even talked with me while I was still in my hospital room," Garza says. "The attention they gave me ranks 10 on a scale of 10."

Garza's fitness regimen includes walking, climbing, and stationary bicycling, plus weight training.

"When I started, I couldn't move my arms well or my back," she says. "After my first week, I was a different person! The exercises aligned my body, and my arms got stronger through the strengthening routines."

With her swift and significant recovery, Garza is back to activities with her husband and two teenage sons.

"I get in more activity, watch our diets, manage my stress, and just lead a healthier life," she says. "Thanks to what I learned in cardiac rehab, we eat less red meat; look at food labels; and watch fat, calories, and sodium.

"Everything is better now. I'm happy, with a lot of energy. I'm even studying toward a new career."

To find a physician to help you manage your heart disease, go to or call 214-947-0000.