Amy Grant Reveals the Story Behind Her Open Heart Surgery

The contemporary Christian star encourages others to get checked out.

Written by Chris Parton
Amy Grant Reveals the Story Behind Her Open Heart Surgery
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 28: Amy Grant performs during Christmas at The Ryman at the Ryman Auditorium on November 28, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Fans were shocked to learn Christian music star Amy Grant had undergone open heart surgery in June, but now the award-winner has opened up about what happened. Appearing on Good Morning America, the 59-year-old says she dodged a major bullet.

Grant’s surgery was a preemptive procedure, intended to fix a genetic heart condition discovered by accident, she told host Robin Roberts. She was at a regular checkup in late 2019 with her husband, country star Vince Gill, when Gill’s cardiologist encouraged her to do some tests.

“I had an irregular heartbeat for the last 10 years, and it exhibited every day,” she explained. “It bothered me a little bit and then I’ve had a harder time singing in the last five years … everything kind of tightening up as I was trying to sing. I remember a couple times telling Vince, ‘I feel like I’m suffocating.’ It’s the weirdest thing, I’m breathing as deep as I can, but in my mind none of that had to do with my heart.”

The tests revealed a dangerous birth defect called partial anomalous pulmonary venous return (PAPVR), which if left untreated, could have disastrous results. Grant was told she needed to have surgery before she turned 60, when the risks of a sudden heart attack increased exponentially.

“They were doing an ultrasound of my heart and the doctor came in. He said, ‘Vince, this is the kind of situation where Amy would be “fine, fine, fine” and then one day it would be catastrophic,'” she said. “And we don’t know when that would be, but it would have been sooner rather than later.”

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Hi everybody…. I know there is so much going on in the world right now. This is a crazy, broken, yet beautiful time. And in the midst of all of that – in the midst of all of our awareness and becoming and learning to love and see each other – I’ve had this really unique experience of having an unanticipated open heart surgery. The only way I can explain my experience would be to ask you to imagine a non-runner who was signed up for a marathon. I didn’t want it, but I had to have it anyway and it was a week ago Wednesday. And as people heard about the surgery I started getting messages: “I’m praying for you” …“I’m praying for you”. People I worked with decades ago, people who have come to my concerts or listen to my music, my work family, people on social media, and my own friends and family all offered their prayers. And now, ten days later, I just want to say, from the moment I went to the hospital, if it really were a marathon race, I felt like I got into that runners block and as soon as it was time for the race to start there was this massive West Texas wind at my back.. just pushing me through. Even stuff I was really scared about felt like nothing more than just a deep breath and something supernatural pushed me through it. My recovery has honestly felt miraculous. And so I want to say thank you to each person who said a prayer for me. Prayer changes everything. Let’s keep those prayers going for our country and lets turn all the brokenness into love and seeing each other. I love you. Amy

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Saying that she’s “so grateful” and that her recovery has been “miraculous,” Grant’s surgery was a success. Now she’s feeling better, and hoping her story will strike a chord with others.

“If I have got something wrong, anybody could have something wrong,” Grant said. “My message would be, ‘Take a minute and take care of yourself.’ You don’t know that something is wrong unless you make sure it’s right.”