2019 Bassmaster Classic champ Ott DeFoe to have heart surgery

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville son and 2019 Bassmaster Classic champion Ott DeFoe will soon have heart surgery.

DeFoe, 33, who won the 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods that took place here in Knoxville for the first time, was diagnosed with a torn mitral valve in his heart after several tests when he noticed frequent shortness of breath.

DeFoe saying on his Facebook page video with his wife Jennie on Friday, June 21 that he’d had trouble breathing and sleeping during the weekend of the Classic, back in mid-March.

“I’ve got terrible allergies anyway, so I thought it had something to do with that…. (doctors) thought it was bronchitis. With my allergies being the way they are, and traveling, I thought it was going to run its full course, but even since then, my breathing hasn’t gotten better, just worse,” DeFoe said. “Doing X-rays, they said part of my heart looked ‘inflamed.’”

After undergoing an echocardiogram, medical personnel found the torn mitral valve in his heart.

Surgery was supposed to be scheduled after Monday’s appointment for his “heart cath” in the Knoxville area.

A “heart cath,” or cardiac catheterization, is the insertion of a catheter into a chamber or vessel of the heart for diagnostic and interventional purposes.

DeFoe also saying the process will be a “minimally invasive surgery” to repair the tear.

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