Country singer Randy Travis undergoes surgery for heart condition

Travis admitted for viral cardiomyopathy

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

DALLAS - Fans of country singer Randy Travis are pulling for him to recover.

Travis is one of country music's top selling artists with seven Grammys, 10 Academy of Country Music Awards and 10 American Music Awards.

The 54-year-old underwent heart surgery at a Dallas hospital after being admitted for a viral heart infection.

According to his publicist, Travis was admitted to the hospital for complications of viral cardiomyopathy.

He initially though he was suffering from the cold or flu, but it turned out to be much worse.

Viral Cardiomyopathy is a heart condition that can be caused by some 30 different viruses.

Dr. Jonathan Aliota with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston said the virus attacks the heart muscle, causing it to beat slower or even stop.

Dr. Aliota told Local 2, "Some families actually have this, and if you have a family member who has a history of what we call idiopathic cardiomyopathy, or familiar cardiomyopathy, then your risk may be a little higher, but in general, the risk is very low."

Symptoms may include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or tightness in the chest.

Travis is currently on probation for a January DWI conviction which came after previous arrests for assault and public intoxication last year.

The star's troubled past has some speculating whether alcohol abuse is connected to his hospitalization.

Dr. Aliota explained, "Alcohol is a toxin. It's both toxic to the bone marrow, and other organs, and the heart is one of those organs. So enough alcohol use can contribute to an overall weakening and dilated heart or cardiomyopathy."

Viral cardiomyopathy can be treated with medication and surgically implanted devices, even heart transplants.

Travis' family has confirmed he underwent surgery, but they have not released any more details about the operation.

Travis had been scheduled to perform at the Deadwood Mountain Grand in South Dakota on Wednesday, but that show has been canceled.

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