Randy Travis is 'awake and alert,' doctor says

Courtesy NBC News

Maria Elena Fernandez

Country music superstar Randy Travis remains in critical condition but has stabilized, his doctors said in a joint statement Monday at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano in Dallas, Texas.

His doctors said they continue to piece together his sudden illness and expect him to recover in a few months after considerable aggressive physical therapy.

Travis, 54, who was hospitalized on July 7 and was placed on life support, later suffered a stroke on July 10 that required surgery to relieve the pressure in his brain, his doctors said.

Travis was suffering from a viral illness that affected his heart, "but that seems to have tipped over a more chronic condition," Dr. Michael Mack said in the statement Monday. The Grammy-winning singer has now been diagnosed with "idiopathic cardiomyopathy, which means he has scarring of his heart muscle that is causing his heart to be weak and not able to support his circulation without help of either medical devices or medication."

Doctors performed a biopsy of Travis' heart muscle and, while it showed scar tissue, it does not reveal an active infection. "This is not the appearance of either drugs or alcohol causing the heart condition," Mack added. "Mr. Travis does have a family history of cardiomyopathy and it is more likely related to that."

Travis remains on a ventilator to help him breathe during hospitalization, but he is being weaned off that support, Dr. Gary Erwin said. He no longer requires mechanical devices to support his heart either, he said.

"In terms of his stroke, he has responded well to the surgical procedure he had to relieve the pressure in his brain," Erwin said. "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."

Travis will remain hospitalized for two to three weeks, and then will be transferred to another facility where he can receive aggressive physical therapy, Erwin said. Doctors expect it will take Travis months to recover from the stroke.

Travis' fiancée thanked his friends, family and the public for their love, affection and prayers.

"I know that Randy feels each and every one of those," Mary Davis said in a statement. "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 days ago."

Read this story at NBC News


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