SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — When we report on heart health, many times we talk about problems happening inside the heart. But one rare disease took a Springfield man by surprise.
When he’s not working overtime, Eric Plaster can’t help but enjoy the comfort of his couch.
“It’s about all I do anymore. I just want to sleep. Lay around most of the time.”
But it’s sitting still that’s taking some getting used to for this 44-year-old.
“They told me I was in congestive heart failure, which freaked me out.”
With no history of heart problems or major symptoms, the devastating news came as a complete shock to Eric and his wife.
“I got depressed,” says Lisa Plaster. “I got sad. The reality of what could happen.”
A rare disease neither of them had heard of had a stronghold around Eric’s heart; it’s called chronic constrictive pericarditis.
According to Mercy Cardiologist Anoop Parameswaran, it happens when the lining around the heart becomes inflamed and thickens.
“The lining around the pericardium can continue to be inflamed over time, and eventually it gets fibrosed and eventually it gets caldified.”
Parameswaran says it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause of the disease in most patients, but previous heart surgery or injury could be to blame. Signs of the disease include extreme fatigue, irregular heart beats and swelling in the legs.
“They are very non-specific, unless you are looking for those you may not find it,” says Parameswaran.
Eric now faces surgery at Cleveland Clinic to remove the lining around his heart.
“I’m scared. I’ve never really had surgeries.”
Meanwhile his wife focuses on success after operation.
“There’s about a 50-60 percent chance that the surgery will work.”