Amy Grant Feels ‘Fantastic’ After Undergoing Open Heart Surgery to Treat Rare Condition
Amy Grant underwent open heart surgery last June to help correct a condition called PAPVR, a birth defect that doctors discovered during a routine heart checkup. She filled fans in on the news soon after her diagnosis, and she's been open about the recovery process following her surgery, too, using her experience to remind people to take care of their health and especially to get regular heart checkups.
Now, one year after first receiving her diagnosis, Grant stopped by ABC's Good Morning America to speak about her recovery and give her first performance since her surgery.
"I feel fantastic," she relates. "I just have this feeling like this is going to be the best year yet. I love it."
The singer says her experience with heart disease left her with an important message to share, especially with other women. February is American Heart Month, in addition to being the month during which Grant learned of her condition. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death among Americans — per the American Heart Association, one in three women die from the disease.
"I guess all I can really share is from my own story," Grant reflects when asked for her words of advice about heart health. "My birth defect was an encroaching killer, and I had no idea. And so my advice would be: Take care of yourself. The world needs you. Even if you feel like everything is fine, you don't really know what's going on inside."
She added that she believes women are especially prone to de-prioritizing taking care of their health, as they juggle many other responsibilities in life. "It's more like, 'Oh, my children, my grandchildren, my work, my spouse,' all of those things, and we need the gift of each other," she points out. "So even if you go, 'Oh, I've got nothing on the radar,' just get somebody else to check it out."
In tribute to both American Heart Month and her own musical history, Grant performed "Every Heartbeat," a 1990 hit that reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The song is included on the track list of her seminal '91 Heart in Motion album, which also produced her massive hit, "Baby, Baby."
On March 5, Grant will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Heart in Motion, and she says that her landmark album holds an even greater meaning for her in the wake of her diagnosis and subsequent surgery. "I feel like I've been given a second chance," she reflects. "It feels like this crazy kaleidoscope that started 30 years ago that's just brought into focus the gift of gratitude, joy for the gift of each other, joy for music."
Grant's condition, PAPVR, stands for partial anomalous pulmonary venous return. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PAPVR is a birth defect of the heart in which some of the veins bringing blood back from the lungs don't connect to the left atrium as usual. Instead, some of them go to the heart by way of an abnormal (anomalous) connection.
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