Cardiothoracic Surgeon Runs Interference for Football Coach

John Trisciani, Defensive Line Coach for the St. Anselm Hawks, becomes surgeon's biggest fan

Published 12/3/2020

Football is a way of life for sixty year old John Trisciani, Defensive Line Coach for the St. Anselm Hawks. His calendar revolves around football season. So when he found out in May that he was going to need open heart surgery, knowing that he needed to report for football on August 8th, he was devastated. But he was reassured after meeting with New England Heart & Vascular Institute’s cardiothoracic surgeon David Caparrelli, MD. “He told me ‘OK, it’s the end of May. You need to be on the field August 8th. I’ll try to get you into surgery in two days. We’ll do it. I can have you ready for football August 1st.’”

Trisciani couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “I mean, we had four days’ notice of having this major operation in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. But he got it done. My first day out of surgery, they’re walking me around. They were working me so hard to get me out in time. My experience was incredible. How well I was treated and how fortunate I was to get Dr. Caparrelli.”

Trisciani had been followed for aortic valve disease by his primary care physician for approximately 10 years. “On my last visit, he said it was fine. We’ll continue to keep an eye on it.” One day in early April, while he was raking leaves, Trisciani knew better. “All of a sudden I couldn’t breathe. It lasted two or three minutes. I knew then it was time to follow up.” He went in for a series of tests, which immediately showed his aortic valve needed to be replaced. Trisciani recalls the tech said, “You need to go home and just sit still. She knew something was wrong right away.” 

Dr. Caparrelli recalls meeting John that April day. “He had been suffering a decrease in exercise tolerance and progressive shortness of breath. As a young man wanting to remain active and keep up with his rigorous coaching schedule for years to come, he needed a multidisciplinary team to evaluate his situation and advise him on the best path forward.”

Dr. Caparrelli explains, “Using the latest technology in surgical heart valves, we felt that this would provide him with the best function and long term durability while stilling allow for a speedy recovery, so that he could get back on the field with the team this season.”

Trisciani agreed. “What I didn’t realize at the time was that CMC had such great heart docs. I had been worried I may need to go to Boston. But nobody has a better experience than I had at CMC.”  

Following a period of rest, he was cleared by Dr. Caparrelli to return to the field in plenty of time for the upcoming season. Trisciani was amazed that he had had a complete recovery in a matter of a little over two months. “Dr. Caparrelli said, ‘I can’t even tell you had heart surgery’. I’m a lucky man. I’m now his biggest fan.”