John Loi now known as the 'Fluke' following life-saving surgery

January 06, 2022

A non-invasive heart screening not only changed John's life, but also likely saved it.

John Loi has a new nickname. He is so proud of it that his wife recently had it printed on a T-shirt for John to wear around town.

Some may consider that a bold move, but John sees it as a way to save a life.

The T-shirt reads, “Fluke: The Man, The Myth, The Legend, 12-07-2021.” He hopes wearing the shirt will lead to a conversation on how he earned the nickname and inspire others to follow his lead. 

In early December John and his wife Cindy both had a non-invasive heart screening completed that is offered by Baptist Health. The screening, which costs $99, takes around 45 minutes and checks for calcium scoring, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease, carotid artery disease and Heel pDXA.

The test not only changed John’s life, but also likely saved it.

A large calcium buildup, which clogs arteries and leads to heart attacks, was found in John during the test. The screening results caught both John and Cindy by surprise.

“Anything 400 or above you are considered at high risk for a cardiac event in the next three to five years,” Cindy said. “John’s number was almost 1,200.”

Once he learned of his results, a heart catheterization was performed on John Dec. 6 under the care of cardiologist Dr. Lakshmana Pendyala. The results, he had 95 percent blockage in three of his main arteries. The blockage was too severe for stints and on Dec. 7, John underwent triple bypass surgery at Baptist Health Floyd.

“I was a walking time bomb,” John said. “This had been building over the years apparently. I always felt like I was in pretty good health for my age and I am except for the blockage. My numbers are good, I don’t have diabetes or any kidney issues. My blood work looked good.”

The “Fluke’s” story began with a simple screening and a few days later ended with successful triple bypass surgery.

“He had earned that nickname starting with the screening and surgery. He had so many things happen to him that he was not expecting,” Cindy said. “He can tell people who ask him about the shirt how important the screening is and how lucky he is to be alive. And that they need to get the same screening.”

John, who turned 70 on Christmas Day, said he never had heart issues and has always been in good health. While he had some shortness of breath at times, he attributed that to allergies and asthma. In fact the day before his heart cath, he was chopping wood. He said he is an active person, regularly riding bikes with his wife.

The Harrison County couple wanted to get the screening as a precaution, just to make sure there were no hidden issues. The screening is offered to the public without a doctor’s order.

“I think it is something that saved my life,” John said. “If I can help someone else that is what I want to do. Even if you are not having symptoms, I mean get a baseline where you are at especially if you are in your 50s and 60s. You may have something that can be averted now, because if I would have let this go and would have had a massive heart attack and survived, I would have had a lot of heart damage. Very blessed to find it when I did and get it fixed.”

The screening can be done on a lunch hour, Cindy said.  She also said John was so surprised with the results that he took them to his primary care physician to review.

“He asked his primary care physician if he had ever seen a calcium score this high,” she said. “He said no because most people don’t get this kind of intricate screening. So how many ticking time bombs are out there? We are trying to tell as many people as we can about this screening. He got the gift of life.”

John is now home recuperating from his triple-bypass surgery. He said he feels good other than being a little fatigued from the surgery.

“It’s amazing how quick they get you up and moving. I am feeling well,” John said. “I think Baptist Health has a gem with this screening. There are a lot of people who probably aren’t aware of it. If people have heart disease in their family, or deal with shortness of breath, go get the screening and get it checked out. If anything it will give you peace of mind.”

To find out more about the heart screening, click here or call 812.949.5570.