Randy Travis in Critical Condition-UPDATED

Country singer Randy Travis, 54, has been hospitalized in Texas “suffering from complications of recently acquired viral cardiomyopathy,” He is listed in critical condition.

Travis spokesman Kirt Webstersaid that Travis appeared well last Friday and Saturday while attending  business meetings but became ill on Sunday and was taken to the hospital.

Travis is one of country music’s top-selling artists, having won 7 Grammys, 10 Academy of Country Music awards and 10 American Music Award statuettes.

In 2012, Travis was arrested for assault and intoxication. He received probation for the offense.

What is Cardiomyopathy?

CVS_cardiomyopathyCardiomyopathy is a weakening of the heart muscle or another problem with the heart muscle. It often occurs when the heart cannot pump as well as it should, or with other heart function problems.

Most patients with cardiomyopathy have heart failure.

One cause of cardiomyopathy is myocarditis, an uncommon disorder that can be caused by viral, bacterial, or fungal infections that reach the heart.

Infectious viral causes include:

When you have an infection, your immune system produces special cells that release chemicals to fight off disease. If the infection affects your heart, the disease-fighting cells enter the heart. However, the chemicals produced by an immune response can damage the heart muscle. As a result, the heart can become thick, swollen, and weak. This leads to symptoms of heart failure.

Symptoms of myocarditis

There may be no symptoms. Symptoms may be similar to the flu. If symptoms occur, they may include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Chest pain that may resemble a heart attack
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and other signs of infection including headache, muscle aches, sore throat, diarrhea, or rashes
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Leg swelling
  • Shortness of breath

Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:

  • Fainting, often related to irregular heart rhythms
  • Low urine output

Treatment of myocarditis

Treatment is aimed at the cause of the problem, and may involve:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce swelling
  • Diuretics to remove excess water from the body
  • Low-salt diet
  • Reduced activity

If the heart muscle is very weak, your health care provider will prescribe medicines to treat heart failure. Abnormal heart rhythms may require the use of additional medications, a pacemaker, or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.

Possible complications of myocarditis include cardiomyopathy (see above), heart failure and pericariditis ( an inflammation or infection of the sac around the heart).

UPDATE 7/9/2013

This morning we are being told that Travis underwent heart surgery last night.

Teresa Traywick, wife of Randy’s brother Ricky Traywick, told the People magazine: “We have been told he has had surgery. Our prayers are going out to him because my husband just had a heart attack last year, so it is in their family.”

UPDATE 7/9/2013 5:15pm

Randy Travis “underwent placement of an Impella peripheral left ventricular assist device for stabilization prior to transferring hospitals. Travis remains in critical condition.” This according to his rep to People magazine this afternoon.

According to the UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovasclar Center:

The Impella device functions similarly to a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), a mechanical pump-type device that is surgically implanted in the left ventricle of the heart. (The LVAD helps maintain the pumping ability of a heart that can’t effectively work on its own, for example, in cases of heart failure.)

The Impella device is a tiny pump that is inserted with a catheter through the groin rather than being surgically implanted. It can be used temporarily to help patients tolerate procedures such as angioplasty by relieving the heart’s pumping function and providing the time needed to perform life-saving procedures.


Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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