Farmington Resident Lends Strength To Heart Transplant Recipients

Andrew Jones never let his hereditary heart condition keep him from achieving his fitness goals and now he is on a mission to help others in a similar situation.

In 2012, Jones was diagnosed with myocarditis which quickly turned into cardiomyopathy.

Jones made headlines last summer as “The Bodybuilder with his Heart in a Backpack,” because of the shoulder pack he had to carry with the battery pack and controller for his LVAD — a left ventricular assistive device. Jones was also recently featured in a Buzzfeed video filmed before his heart transplant.

Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the tissue and muscle of the heart. It weakens the heart making it more difficult to pump blood, and in some cases can lead to heart failure.

“I found myself running out of breath just trying to get dressed in the morning, so it’s gradual but kind of swift,” Jones said of the early stages of his heart condition.

Jones received a heart transplant, in September of 2016, and he began working out again as soon as he could after receiving the transplant.

“My body is pretty much back to its old self, I’m doing anything I want to do,” Jones said.

Dr. Konstadina Darsaklis, the cardiology director of pulmonary vascular disease at Hartford Hospital, worked with Jones prior to and following his surgery. She said his condition was more serious than many of her patients but he remained physically fit.

“He was one of our most active patients of all time” Darsaklis said. “It’s a very sick population that we deal with.”

Darsaklis said she has seen Jones come back to the hospital for outreach and to support other patients who are about to go through what he already has.

“Andrew was very motivated, from the very beginning, in wanting to share his experience to help others,” Darsaklis said.

As a fitness model, Jones has used his platform to share his story and inspire others. He’s also…

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