Randy Travis "Awake and Alert" After Brain Surgery, Doctor Says Heart Condition Wasn't Caused by Drugs or Alcohol

Doctors foresee months of recovery following stroke, but are hoping to transfer country singer to inpatient facility for physical therapy in a few weeks

By Natalie Finn Jul 16, 2013 12:23 AMTags
Randy TravisJordan Strauss/WireImage

Randy Travis has a long road ahead of him—but doctors are happy to report that at least the country singer is on that road. 

The doctors heading up Travis' case announced Monday that the Storms of Life artist has woken up since undergoing surgery to relieve swelling on his brain following a stroke, but he remains on a ventilator and on intravenous medication for his heart.

However, other positive notes on his prognosis include that Travis' heart is pumping without the help of any machines and scans are showing decreased swelling in his brain.

Furthermore, doctors have pinpointed his condition as idiopathic cardiomyopathy, meaning he has scarring of the heart muscle that weakened his heart and made it unable to support his circulation without the help of either machines or medication, according to cardiac surgeon Dr. Michael Mack, medical director of cardiovascular disease at Baylor Health Care System in Dallas.

"We performed a biopsy of his heart muscle and it shows scar tissue. It does not show active infection," Mack said. "From the appearance on echocardiograms, which are images of his heart, this is not the appearance of either drugs or alcohol causing the heart condition."

"He does remain on intravenous medications to help support his heart, but we are decreasing the doses of those every day and actually beginning to start him on oral medications which he will use long term to help support his heart," added Dr. Gary Erwin, an intensivist at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, where Travis was transferred for more specialized care after initially being admitted to Baylor McKinney hospital on July 7.

"He is breathing spontaneously with the help of the ventilator and [we] hope to have him weaned off of that very soon breathing completely on his own," Erwin said.
"In terms of his stroke, he has responded well to the surgical procedure he had to relieve the pressure in his brain. We're seeing improvements in brain scans showing decreased swelling of his brain. He is awake and alert interacting with his family and friends and beginning to start doing some early physical therapy."

Erwin said that they are hoping Travis will be well enough in a few weeks to be transferred from The Heart Hospital to an inpatient facility to undergo "aggressive physical therapy," but he expects that it will "take months to recovery from the stroke."

Meanwhile, Travis' fiancée, Mary Davis, is thanking their family, friends and fans for the outpouring of support, as well as thanking the doctors for the top-notch level of care the singer has received.

"I know that those are prayers that have helped mend his heart along with the skilled hands of the physicians and doctors and nurses here at The Heart Hospital of Baylor in Plano," Davis said.

"I know that Randy feels each and every one of those. He feels the hands of the doctors and the care of the nurses and the love of his fans. His friends and family have all been touched by that. He is responding well to voices and he sees and he understands. He's miles beyond where any of us thought he would be a few days ago.
"It's heart-warming to see that we have such a strong person under there that's willing to fight with us. We all know now that we had greatness to work with. We ask for your continued support. I know that Randy will be so touched by that when he understands the magnitude of it all."