Dr. Nathan Hostetler Was Born With a Heart Condition


Credit to Kamryn Bell

Head Principal Nathan Hostetler looks on while students pick up their schedules on July 30.

By Paige Mooney

Transposition of the Great Arteries; when the two arteries exiting the heart are switched. Every heart pumps blood to the lungs and the rest of the body. But, since those with TGA have switched arteries, instead of creating a figure eight like shape, they create just two completely different circles and different sides of their heart provides blood in the opposite way of a “normal” heart. Dr. Nathan Hostetler, Head Principal of FHN, is affected by TGA.

“It was surgically corrected when I was younger with what’s called ‘The Mustard Operation,’” Hostetler said. “What they do is remove a part of the wall in between the two halves of the heart and create a baffle so that blood can flow back and forth and essentially reverses the flow of the top two chambers of my heart. So, now the right side of my heart provides blood to my body and the right side of yours provides blood to your lungs. Same with the left side, they are switched functions.”

Because of his condition, Hostetler’s heart does not function like most adult hearts. As he gets older, he will likely feel the impact of his condition more and more. Such as drop in energy, low stamina, swelling and shortness of breath.

“Gradually I think it’s affecting me more but, as a kid it really didn’t,” Hostetler said. “The surgery I got was performed when I was five months old. Now, when you think about your heart being the size of your fist, which it is, just imagine a five month old heart. The baffle they put in my heart was synthetic, so, it can’t grow as I grow. So, everything that my body needs has to pass through that small path.”

Though it may not cause him pain often, Hostetler sometimes has to take longer time to recover from physical activities he does with his kids.

“The kids know he has his condition,” Dr. Travena Hostetler, Nathan’s wife, said. “They are aware of his doctor visits and the surgery he got when he was younger.”

After FHN came to the knowledge of Nathan’s condition, many fundraisers including selling shirts for the Fort Zumwalt South game and the Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser have been brought up to fund the American Heart Association.

“I have been so impressed in the feedback we have gotten from the FHN community,” Travena said. “They have embraced it and welcomed him into the community and we can’t explain the appreciation we have for everyone.”