Man credits new Round Rock clinic for saving his life

Gary Brackett can walk easily out of St. David's in Round Rock now, but that wasn't always the case.

"I was tired," said Brackett. "I was exhausted."

On his 81st birthday, in April 2023, Brackett had a widowmaker heart attack.

"People don’t survive that, let alone recover from it," said Sarah Carpenter, Gary Brackett's daughter.

Afterward, he crashed in the hospital.

"We were told he was not going to make it, so we had everyone on the phone, calling him and saying their goodbyes, saying, ‘please don’t go,’" said Carpenter.

Doctors performed CPR for 30 minutes.

"To know that it came that close more than one time was, it was terrible," said Carpenter.

After what felt like forever, his family got a spark of hope.

"We were asking him questions and talking to him, and he squeezed our hand," said Carpenter.

Gary Brackett credits a new heart valve clinic in Round Rock for saving his life.

Brackett not only survived but would become the first person at St. David's Round Rock's new Heart Valve Clinic to receive a TAVR. It replaces a valve near the heart that otherwise isn't working correctly.

Brackett’s valve had narrowed, forcing his heart to work overtime and eventually fail.

"We want to be able to take care of our patients locally," said Dr. Jay Pandya, an interventional cardiologist at Austin Heart and St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center.

The clinic opened up over the summer, and Brackett got the procedure done in late August.

Since then, it's helped dozens more.

"Our hope is to offer this technology and treatment to more patients to be able to make an impact like we were able to with Gary," said Pandya.

Brackett said he struggles to remember the heart attack and procedure that followed.

"I didn’t have a conscious recollection of what had happened and the importance of it," said Brackett.

But he does know there's a before and after the TAVR.

"It’s great," said Brackett. "I get up and walk my dog every day, about 30 minutes or so."

He credits that to the clinic.

"All the nurses and the doctors were extremely helpful," said Brackett. "They did their jobs, and I'm glad it worked out."

Now, he thinks he's got another 10–20 years left.

Reporter: So you could make it to 100?

"Yeah, and beyond," said Brackett.

Brackett's family said if there's anything else people should take away from their story, it's to trust your gut and see a doctor when you think something is wrong, especially if you're noticing symptoms of a heart attack.