Mayor Melton To Undergo Surgery - - Jackson, MS

Jackson 01/08/08

Mayor Melton To Undergo Surgery

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton is expected to undergo surgery Wednesday for a heart problem he has been battling for some time now.

The surgery comes just one day after he fainted at the Hinds County courthouse.  Mayor Melton was resting at the hospital Tuesday night before Wednesday's surgery. Wednesday morning doctor's will install a defibrillator in his chest to monitor his heart functions.

At a swearing-in ceremony for hinds county officials Monday, Mayor Melton temporarily lost consciousness. After he recovered, Melton checked into a nearby hospital for observation.

According to Melton s, attorney Dale Danks, that observation has now led to a surgery in which Melton will have a defibrillator inserted into his chest.

The mayor first went public about his heart condition in 2005.

At a press conference he announced he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure during Hurricane Katrina. Then last January, Melton flew to Texas to have a defibrillator implanted, but during his visit doctors discovered a blockage in his heart, and instead performed double by-pass-surgery.

At that time, we spoke to Dr. Malcolm Taylor, a congestive heart failure specialist, to learn the functions of a defibrillator. "It's a computer and has the ability to detect the abnormal rhythms, try to apply pacing techniques to pace you out of rhythm, if that fails it will shock you and save your life."

The device is battery operated and is about the size of a pager. It sends electric signals to a heart that is beating abnormally. It helps prevent ventricular fibrillation, which causes cardiac arrest.

Dr. Michael Winniford, Director of Cardiology at UMC says heart problems are common among people under intense stress.

Last March, Melton checked into the hospital complaining of chest pains just hours after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges he violated his probation. That, along with the stress of lawsuits against him and a federal investigation are likely to have played a role in his heart condition. 

" People who are under a great deal of stress generally have problems with higher blood pressure. They may be prone to heart problems, so I' m sure the very high level of stress that the mayor is under is bound to play a role," stated Dr. Winniford. 

Mayor Melton does have a family history of heart problems. He told us last year, both his parents died as a result of heart attacks.

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