Clanton man gets new lease on life

Published 10:38 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bud Esposite has had a heavy burden lifted from his shoulders — and more importantly, his heart.

After nearly five years of dependence on a heart pump, Esposite underwent surgery at UAB on Oct. 5, 2010, to have his heart pump removed.

“It feels great,” Esposite said, adding he lost about 50 pounds in the combined weight of the equipment and fluids.

Now the 54-year-old Clanton resident can perform tasks he hasn’t been able to do in years — take an actual shower, drive farther distances, and operate a vacuum cleaner (the magnetic field in some machines would negatively affect the pump).

Esposite was first placed on a heart pump in August 2006, about five years after his first symptoms of dizziness, blackouts, weakness and difficulty breathing. He has worn a pacemaker and defibrillator since 2002 and still must wear these devices today.

The pump, located inside the body and attached to a controller and battery pack outside of the body, would take blood from the left side of the heart and regulate the flow of blood throughout the body.

Esposite’s heart pump was replaced in January 2008, but now he is healthy enough to live without the device.

“My heart repaired itself, and the pump was causing a medical condition that could kill you so they took it out,” Esposite said.

The surgery took several hours, and he remained in the hospital about four weeks. He also received a new pacemaker, which controls the heartbeat. His defibrillator is attached to a device that automatically alerts doctors if anything goes wrong.

Esposite is in the minority because he knows of only two others who have worn a heart pump and had it removed.

“We’re still considered disabled,” he said. “My heart’s not 100 percent, but it’s much better without the pump.”

Esposite wished to thank Dr. James K. Kirklin, his cardiologist Dr. Salpy V. Pamboukian, nurse coordinator Peggy Blood, Jessica Sharpton and everyone on the fifth floor at UAB’s cardiac care.

He also thanked everyone who prayed for him.

“Everyone down at my church (Clanton First United Methodist) was praying, praying and praying for me every Wednesday,” he said.

Esposite heard more good news during his December doctor visit.

“She finally said, ‘I’ll see you in February’ rather than January,” he said.

Esposite and his wife, Lori, have two sons, a daughter and six grandchildren.

Bud Esposite poses without a heart pump, following an October surgery.