Lincoln marathon runner bounces back after heart surgery

Paul Korslund (pictured: far left) is a recently retired Beatrice district court judge who is in excellent physical shape for a 69 year old man.

But during a half-marathon this last spring, he felt some discomfort and knew something wasn’t right.

After finishing the race and contacting his doctor, Korslund was tested at the Chest Pain Center at the Nebraska Heart Institute.

Soon after it was discovered that Korslund had an artery that was 98 percent blocked, requiring heart bypass surgery.

“I was just totally blown away, I didn’t have any warnings signs, I had had regular medical exams and no family history of heart conditions,” said Korslund.

After learning about his condition, Korslund’s first question had to do with a previously planned trip to Europe.

“Am I going to have to cancel my planned biking trip along the Danube between Munich and Vienna in September?”

Doctor Jim Wudel assured Korslund that he would be able to make a full recovery.

He was impressed by Korslund’s ability to recognize the problem and act on it.

“I think Paul is in a unique category because not all people who have such subtle symptoms come in for an evaluation to their physician,” said Dr. Wudel.

Paul underwent surgery on May 11th of this year.

He has since made a full recovery, and made it on his trip to Europe, where he says, he feels as good as ever.

“I’m feeling great, I am feeling better than I did before mainly because of my breathing.  I just didn’t realize, it must have happened over time, that my heart was not getting the oxygenated blood that it should,” said Korslund.

If left untreated, the blockage in his artery could have led to a significant heart attack.

There over 700,000 deaths each year in the U.S. from heart disease alone.

“The takeaway message is don’t assume that you are not going to have problems just because you don’t have risk factors that are obvious. And if there are chest pains, take it seriously,” said Korslund.

Since his surgery, Paul ran a 5k with his granddaughter and is planning to run another in Cortland with his wife and daughter on thanksgiving.

Heart bypass surgery isn’t going to stop him anytime soon.

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