Arrhythmia led to bypass surgery for Survivor Honoree

Arrhythmia led to bypass surgery for Survivor Honoree

Pat Spencer

This past January, Pat Spencer of Campbell Hall had bypass surgery, following years of careful observation of atrial fibrillation (AFib), an arrhythmia in his heart.

Spencer will share his story at the Tri-County Heart Walk on Saturday, May 20, at Benedict Farm State Park, 1675 State Route 17K, Montgomery. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the 1- or 3-mile walk steps off at 9 a.m. 

“Since I’m of a certain age, when my regular doctor found AFib, he said, let’s watch it,” Spencer said. “But a stress test showed a small blockage. At first, the plan was to put in two stents, but the cardiologist decided to do bypass instead.”

Spencer, now retired from a Local 3 job where he was foreman of the traffic division and worked on traffic lights in the five boroughs of New York City, first thought he’d have to travel to New York for his surgery. His relief at being able to have the surgery done at Garnet Health made the experience easier. In particular, it took away his concern about his wife traveling to visit him or staying with family in New York.

“I’m grateful for the way things worked out, and that’s why I want to tell my story,” Spencer said.

Spencer had always felt healthy, and through years of physical labor, never had any problem with his knees or shoulders. There was a little cardiac family history. His brother might need to have a stent, and his father passed away from an aneurysm in his belly.

After his surgery, Spencer got set up for cardiac rehab, then he and his family headed for warmer weather in Florida. He’ll pick up cardiac rehab when he is settled back into Hudson Valley life.

“I really felt great in Florida, and I’m happy to share my story at the Heart Walk,” Spencer said.

Spencer, 71, and his wife have two children and three grandchildren.

“It was tough knowing what I was going to have to go through, and I’m grateful to all the doctors who worked on me,” Spencer said. “I’m happy to give back.”

To join Spencer at the Tri-County Heart Walk, visit