WBOC’s Jimmy Hoppa to undergo heart surgery


WBOC-TV newscaster Jimmy Hoppa will have heart surgery Sept. 1, and be off the air a couple of months, but he’s calm about the procedure.

“This is something that I have left in God’s hands. This didn’t take him by surprise. Whatever he’s got planned for me is what I want to do. It’s in bigger hands,” the good-natured Hoppa told the Independent this week.

The father of five and grandfather of four, Hoppa, 56, said he’ll be on the air until Aug. 28.

In a video he posted on Facebook, he said he’s had to keep an eye on his heart the past several years.

“I had an aneurysm and I’m going to have open heart surgery to take out a piece of my aorta, give me a brand new garden hose, replace a valve and do some other little piddly things while we’re in there,” he said, videoing himself as he drove.

“I’m going to be OK. It’s a pretty major surgery … I would like to ask you to pray for me, to pray for the surgeons. All of this is in God’s hands. It’s all going to be OK and I’m going to be so much better coming out other side. I cannot wait,” Hoppa said.

He’s had atrial fibrillation, a type of arrhythmia, since he was a child, and it has been regulated by medicine about 20 years.

“The heart chamber doesn’t get a full compression. It kind of flutters. It feels like being punched in the chest over and over again. There can be pain sometimes,” he said.

His doctors are cardiologist Dr. Jeff Etherton and surgeon Dr. James Todd.

He plans to return to WBOC feeling better and will go back to training in the fire department. For some patients, recovery takes six weeks, although he is prepared to be out for up to three months.

“I am so ready for this,” the Idaho native said. He and his wife, Carol, moved to Salisbury in 1993. He’s been on the air at WBOC-TV 10 years.

“I plan to get back to my full schedule and be better than ever,” he said, from his office.

“I don’t think they plan to change the locks on the doors here at the TV station or anything.”

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