Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery Archive

November 17th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Taking It in Stride — Amputations, Heart Surgeries and a Pump Won’t Dampen Dick Feller’s Spirit

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Dick Feller remains positive about his unique medical experience, including amputations and a heart pump. Dick Feller likes to joke about his medical escapades.

In just six years, Dick Feller had three open-heart operations, had both legs and an arm amputated, and was fitted with a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, to keep his heart pumping. That's a lot for one person to take. But with unconditional support from his family and an unwavering sense of humor, Dick hasn't let the experience affect his attitude.

"I have three stumps and a pump," Dick, 71, jokes. "And because I didn't want things to get boring, I had gall bladder and kidney stone surgery in between those other procedures."  Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Aortic Dissection, cardiac surgery, Cardiovascular Diseases, Dr John Stulak, Heart Surgery, Left Ventricular Assist Device

October 30th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Putting Kieran’s Heart Back Where it Belongs

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Baby Kieran is health today thanks to pediatric heart surgery at Mayo Clinic.Caitlin Veitz never takes for granted just how special her daughter Kieran is. “She’s laid back, happy, wonderful,” Caitlin says.

The circumstances around her birth, however, were not as serene.

At her 20-week ultrasound, Caitlin learned her baby's heart was not where it was supposed to be and that it had developed outside of the chest wall. The condition, called ectopia cordis, is "one of the, if not the, most rare congenital heart defects,” according to Joseph Dearani, M.D., a Mayo Clinic pediatric cardiac surgeon.

“We didn’t have any idea that anything like that could happen," says Caitlin. "It was scary. The odds were stacked against her.”  Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: cardiac surgery, Congenital Heart Defect, Dr Joseph Dearani, Ectopia Cordis, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, 3d printing, Cardiology, Dr Carl Rose, Dr Christopher Moir, Dr Jane Matsumoto, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Radiology

October 21st, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Here Comes (the Father of) the Bride — With a Little Help From Mayo

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Andre Pearson traveled to his daughter's wedding with some help from Mayo Clinic.

Andre Pearson wanted nothing more than to be in Indio, California, last June to answer the question: "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" But up until the night before, it looked like he was going to be resigned to watching his daughter, Alexandra Price, get married from half a country away. Heart and kidney failure had kept Andre in a hospital bed at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus since March. But then his care team had an idea.  Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Dr David Joyce, Dr Lyle Joyce, ventricular assist device, Wedding, heart failure, Kidney Failure

September 17th, 2015 · 2 Comments

The Flu, a Grocery Store Clinic and a Mayo Clinic Nurse May Have Saved My Life

By ronaldpetrovich ronaldpetrovich

Ron Petrovich with Nurse Practitioner Dawn Kaderabek.

My head pounded incessantly. With every sip of water, I felt like I was swallowing razor blades. I coughed and wheezed so hard that my stomach muscles ached. But as sick as I was, this would be one of my healthiest days, because a visit with a vigilant nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic may have saved my life.

After feeling really crummy for several days last spring, lying in bed "drinking plenty of fluids," and hoping whatever was ailing me would pass, I decided that I had waited long enough. I visited Mayo Clinic Express Care at one of the Hy-Vee Grocery stores in Rochester, Minnesota. That's where Dawn Kaderabek, a Mayo Clinic nurse practitioner, diagnosed me with Influenza B. She also noticed something unusual.

While listening to my heart, she heard a whooshing sound and asked if I had ever been told about a murmur. I said no, I hadn't. She told me that murmurs are not always dangerous but recommended that I get this checked out sooner rather than later. Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: bicuspid aortic valve, Cardiovascular Diseases, Heart Murmur, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, influenza, Patient Stories

September 11th, 2015 · 1 Comment

The Beat Goes On … for Tom Grady

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

A portrait of Tom GradyIn 1968, when I was just three months old, I was taken from my mother’s arms and rushed into emergency surgery. My skin tone turned to a sky blue color, and the doctors caring for me knew they needed to act fast if they wanted to save me. They needed to get oxygen to my vital organs, because my heart was failing.

The doctors did a temporary-fix surgery to improve my circulation and to buy them time in hopes that they would find a better solution. The surgery worked, but the question was: How long would it last?

Later that day, my mother was given words that no mother wants to hear. “Take him home to die,” the doctors told my mom. Four open-heart surgeries and 45 years later, I am still here, proving those doctors wrong.

I am happy that through science and research, there are now medical devices and surgical techniques that are much more high-tech than what they had to work with 45 years ago. My gray hairs prove that I, a Tetralogy of Fallot baby, am still alive into my adulthood years.  Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Congenital Heart Disease, Congenital Heart Walk, Tetralogy of Fallot

September 10th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Team Marrion Steps Out for Heart Health

By cindyweiss cindyweiss

Katie and Marrion Ford. Every year, Katie Ford, who works at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, can be found with a plastic jar and a stack of donation envelopes, encouraging colleagues to support the activities of the American Heart Association. In particular, she urges them to sign up for the annual First Coast Heart Walk, which Mayo Clinic sponsors.

Heart disease runs in Ford’s family, which is why she’s so passionate about supporting the cause and spreading the word about cardiovascular health.

Although he was 74-years-old, Ford’s father hadn’t been to a doctor’s office his entire adult life. When her mother was able to convince him it was time for a checkup, his doctors immediately identified issues.

“The doctor found he was 75 percent blocked and said he was a ticking time bomb for a heart attack,” Katie says. Her dad received a stent, and all was well for a number of years. However, his condition progressed, and he had a pacemaker and defibrillator installed in August 2014.  Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Aortic Aneurysm, Cardiovascular Health, First Coast Heart Walk, Heart Disease

July 20th, 2015 · 5 Comments

Patient Comes to Mayo for Foot Surgery, Receives Lifesaving Surprise

By cindyweiss cindyweiss

Virgil Jernigan is enjoying his retirement thanks to surgery to repair a leaky mitral valve.When Virgil Jernigan came to Mayo Clinic for foot surgery, he was in for a lifesaving surprise. During an exam before his surgery, he mentioned to his nurse practitioner that he had been feeling fatigued and short of breath. So she ordered cardiac testing. Virgil was shocked to learn he had a leaking mitral valve – a potentially life-threatening heart condition.  Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: cardiac surgery, Cardiovascular Diseases, Mitral Valve Disease, Orthopedic Surgery

July 2nd, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Cardiac Rehabilitation Helps Ardis Kyker Improve Her Health, Lose Weight and Avoid Surgery

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Ardis Kyker with her cardiac rehabilitation therapist, Whitney Quast.Back in 2014, Ardis Kyker was at home going about her daily routine when she experienced tightening in her chest. The pain went away as soon as she sat down to rest, so she proceeded with her day.

Later, while pushing a cart at a grocery store, the pain returned with more intensity. So Ardis checked in at the Emergency Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing, Minnesota. While test results ruled out a heart attack, the team in the Emergency Department scheduled her for a stress test because of the pain she was feeling on exertion. Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Cardiac Rehabilitation, Coronary Artery Disease, Mayo Clinic Health System, Red Wing

June 26th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

From Patient to Physician

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Dr. Brandon Phillips with a young patient. Dr. Brandon Lane Phillips' experience as a patient and a student at Mayo Clinic influences his own practice of medicine today

As a pediatric cardiology fellow at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Brandon Lane Phillips cared for a number of children from Mongolia who had congenital heart defects. Before they went into surgery, he would take a photo of their hands next to his on a white piece of paper. He would do the same again after surgery and before they returned home.

The difference was striking. "In the pictures before heart surgery, you could clearly see a blue cast to their skin. After surgery, the blue was gone," he says. "That really hit home for me."

It made an impact because Dr. Phillips is not only a physician who specializes in pediatric cardiology, he's also been a pediatric cardiology patient.

"Many of the kids who came to us from Mongolia had the same heart defect I did: tetralogy of Fallot," he says. "They were often close to their teenage years and had never undergone surgery. These children were usually quite blue. They couldn't walk very far. It was a glimpse of what would have happened to me without the medical attention I received.  Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine, Pediatric Cardiology, Pulmonary Valve Surgery, Tetralogy of Fallot

June 4th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Transplant Change-Up Gives Courtney a Second Chance

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Courtney Kidd in her hospital room after transplant surgery. Courtney Kidd is working hard to raise organ donor awareness after a new approach to double-organ transplant saved her life.

Born with five congenital heart defects and suffering through several medical complications, Courtney needed both a new heart and a new liver. Previous surgeries at ages 2, 6, 12 and then again at 22, and numerous blood transfusions over the years, had caused her immune system to develop high levels of antibodies that would attack and reject foreign tissues.

She was told that her risk of organ rejection was too high if she received a heart and liver transplant in the usual order. Her Mayo Clinic doctors, however, turned her dire situation into an advantage, and she was one of the first in the world to receive an organ transplant in a way that was likely her only chance to survive.  Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Congenital Heart Defect, Heart Transplant, liver transplant, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center