Walking Miracle: Man Survives 18 Heart Attacks

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(Photo Credit: MGN Online)

By Dan Rascon

(KUTV) — A West Jordan man, who has survived 18 heart attacks in just 10 years, is being called a walking miracle.

Mike Mader says he’s feeling like a new man after undergoing a double organ transplant surgery.

“Feel amazing,” said 31-year-old Mike Mader. “Couldn’t feel better. Never happier in my life.”

Mader joined a team of doctors at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray to talk about the success of the surgery in a press conference held Thursday.

The transplants took place on the same day, April 23rd. Mike was released from the hospital on May 6th. Both surgeries took about four hours. The heart transplant was first. Mader says before the surgeries he “felt like garbage” and was “extremely fatigued.”

Mader was born with a genetic disorder called familial hypercholesterolemia—it causes the liver to be unable to process cholesterol. At the age of three, his mom says his cholesterol level was in the high 400’s. At the age of 22, Mader suffered his first heart attack.

“The prognosis was bad. We had three doctors tell us that he needed to get his affairs in order and prepare to die; that there was nothing that could be done,” said Susan Mader Nab, Mike’s mother.

Mader ended up waiting 781 days for the organs to come.

“To find both a heart and liver that was in terrific shape and a match for Mike was a challenge and we waited quite some time for Mike,” said Dr. John Doty who performed the heart transplant. “We have a young man sitting here who has had the gift of two organs from some family that was kind enough to give that gift of life to a man.”

Mader is the first adult in the Intermountain West to have had a combined heart and liver transplant, according to a hospital spokesman.

Mader now hopes to move forward with his life in a way he never could before. “Just being able to meet my goals and be a normal person for once pretty excited about that,” said Mader.

Mader still has be to watched very closely. Doctors say there is always a risk of rejection and that the risk is highest during the first year of recovery. Mader has checkups twice a week.

Less than 30 of these double transplant surgeries are done each year in the U.S. Right now, there is one other person in Utah waiting for two organs.

The family has set up an account to help with surgery costs through Wells Fargo Bank. The account is under the Michael Mader Donation Fund. Deposits can be made at any Wells Fargo Branch.