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Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery Archive

June 11th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Near-death experience brings second chance, new calling

By Hoyt Finnamore

Nancy Capelle with emergency medical technician Mike Szumagala, whose quick actions helped save her life.

Nancy Capelle with emergency medical technician Mike Szumagala, whose quick actions helped save her life.

On May 14, 2011, Nancy Capelle, a wife and mother of two young daughters, clinically died at the age of 40. She suffered spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), a condition that blocks blood flow to the heart causing a heart attack, abnormalities in heart rhythm and sudden death. But thanks to the quick actions of a paramedic, she is alive today to tell her harrowing story of life and death.

What was so hard for Nancy to comprehend following her medical emergency, she says, was that in a blink of an eye and without warning, healthy young women can be stricken by SCAD and die. Yet it didn’t appear from her research into the condition that the medical community was actively researching the tragic phenomenon. Perhaps it was because it was considered so rare that support for such a study would be difficult to find, she thought, or that finding enough SCAD survivors would be even more problematic.

Then Nancy came across an article in the Aug. 30, 2011, edition of The Wall Street Journal titled, “When Patients Band Together -- Using Social Networks To Spur Research for Rare Diseases; Mayo Clinic Signs On.” For Nancy, this article changed the dark face of SCAD dramatically, and she would find herself and many other young women just like her able to see daylight again. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Cardiovascular Diseases, clinical trials, Dr Sharrone Hayes, heart attack, heart disease, SCAD, social media


May 23rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Healthy Lifestyle Doesn’t Always Eliminate Risk of Heart Disease

By Paul Scotti

of 67 year-old Donald Glynn of Jacksonville, Fla., an avid runner who participated in countless marathons, half marathons and 5K races over the last 30 years.Sometimes even doing everything right to live a healthy lifestyle isn’t enough to ward off a serious illness.

Such was the case of 67-year-old Donald Glynn of Jacksonville, Fla., an avid runner who has participated in countless marathons, half marathons and 5K races over the last 30 years. He also watched his diet, weight and blood pressure, and did most of the things you’d expect of someone who led a healthy lifestyle. But Donald, who worked as a surgical assistant at Mayo Clinic in both Rochester and Florida before his retirement, neglected one thing — regular checkups. Given his family’s history of heart disease (his mother, grandmother and grandfather all had it), that turned out to be a serious mistake.

After experiencing an irregular heart rate earlier this year, Donald was shocked to learn that his arteries were severely blocked and that he’d need a heart transplant. His condition was serious enough that while waiting for a new heart, he’d need to have a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implanted to help his damaged heart function properly.

“Needless to say, given my lifestyle and being a runner for so many years, I was stunned to hear about the condition of my heart,” he says. “I thought I was doing everything right, but given my family history, it apparently wasn’t enough.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Donald Glynn, Dr Daniel Yip, Florida, heart disease, LVAD, MayoClinicFL, Patient Stories, transplant


April 2nd, 2014 · 1 Comment

The Team Behind Team Lola

By Hoyt Finnamore

Lola points to her scar from heart surgery

Most 13-year-old girls wouldn't see having a scar down the middle of their chests as cool. Lola Montilla, however, is not your average 13-year-old girl. When she looks at the scar on her chest from the surgery she had at Mayo Clinic to repair the Ebstein’s anomaly heart defect she was born with, she says it serves as a reminder that what doesn't kill us does indeed make us stronger.

"I really, really like my scar," Lola says, from her home in Puerto Rico. "Every time I look at it, it makes me think, 'Wow, I really did go through this, and I'm now back here at home.'"

Her mom, Mari Serrano-Montilla, says she and her husband learned that Lola would be born with Ebstein’s anomaly -- a rare heart defect that causes blood to leak back through the tricuspid valve, forcing the heart to work much harder than normal -- late in her pregnancy. "Our doctors here in Puerto Rico said she might need surgery, but it was a matter of just seeing how much progress she made," she says.

Outside of not being able to participate in competitive sports in school or go on any of "the cool rides" when her family visited Disney World, Lola lived the first 12 years of her life without much complication or difficulty. But then, just before her 13th birthday, things began to change. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Atrial Septum Defect, Cardiovascular Disease, cardiovascular surgery, Dr Joseph Dearani, Ebstein's Anomaly, heart & heart surgery, patient story


December 3rd, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Child’s play — at long last

By Mayo Clinic

Deshawn Corbin

After heart surgery, Deshawn Corbin can run, jump and swim like a kid ... for the first time

Deshawn Corbin is just 15 years old. But he’s already experienced more life than most people many times his age.

Deshawn was born with complex congenital heart disease that affected the way blood traveled through his body and kept him from getting enough oxygen. His teenage mother, who’d had no prenatal care, realized she would be unable to care for a child with such special needs and gave him up for adoption. On the day he was born, Deshawn became a ward of the state and had his first open heart surgery. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: cardiac surgery, congenital heart disease, Dr Ann Reed, Dr Ben Eidem, Dr Harold Burkhart, Fontan Procedure, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, Patient Stories, pediatrics


September 5th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

A lifetime of lessons in 20 short years

By Admin

Ashley Jagodzinski

Ashley Jagodzinski

It hasn't been an easy path for Ashley Jagodzinski. To say the least. So you'll pardon Ashley and her mom (Mayo employee Erin Jagodzinski) if they're a touch enthusiastic about Ashley officially starting her college career this fall.

A few things conspired to stop Ashley from getting to this point. Three open-heart surgeries by age 12 (the first, at just 6 months of age). Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. A stroke. A brain hemorrhage. Seizures. And, astoundingly, and sadly, bullies who picked on Ashley for missing school when her physical difficulties took a toll.

Ashley and her family turned to Mayo Clinic often during those years. And at age 17, after suffering a stroke, seizures and a brain hemorrhage, Ashley and her family moved to Rochester to be closer to Mayo. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Ashley Jagodzinski, cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Allison Cabalka, Dr. Francisco Puga, Erin Jagodzinski, Mayo Clinic, Patient Stories, Rheumatoid Arthritis, seizures, stroke


September 1st, 2013 · 2 Comments

Eluding the ‘Widow Maker': The Checkup that Saved His Life

By Cynthia (Cindy) Weiss

George Roberts, vice president of a Florida-based road construction and contracting company

“You have to go to know.”

George Roberts will tell you he’s a busy man — too busy to worry about a physical.

As vice president of a Florida-based road construction and contracting company and chair of two industry groups, he’s got a lot to oversee. Taking time for a doctor’s visit wasn’t on his schedule.

However, Roberts refused to be absent when his wife, Stephanie, was scheduled for a preventive surgical procedure at Mayo Clinic earlier this summer. With her urging, he agreed to schedule a checkup at the same time. His wife’s insistence and that physical exam probably saved his life.

Roberts, then 46, was eligible to participate in Mayo Clinic’s Executive Health Program, best described as a comprehensive physical taking place over one to three days. The specialized program has served busy executives for more than 30 years and offers an efficient, cost-effective way to proactively manage health.

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Tags: executive physical, heart, widow maker, Dr. Rodriguez, Executive Health, george roberts, manuel rodriguez, Florida, Mayo Clinic in Florida, MayoClinicFL


July 19th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Harmonica Helps Pulmonary and Lung-Transplant Patients Breath Easier

By Lauren Venoy

Mayo Clinic lung-transplant patient, Larry Rawdon, shares how the harmonica can help other patients breath easier.

After surviving two separate lung transplant procedures in 2005 and 2008, musician Larry Rawdon is sharing new ways of healing through music with other patients at Mayo Clinic in Florida. It was, after all, music that led him to Mayo Clinic and aided in his recovery after he was diagnosed in 2002 with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Prior to coming to Mayo Clinic, Rawdon had little hope of his condition improving. But a chance meeting in 2005 at a music festival with cardiothoracic surgeon Octavio E. Pajaro, M.D., changed his outlook on his condition and created hope for Rawdon and his family.

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Tags: cardiothoracic, cardiovascular, Cesar Keller, Florida, Harmonica, Larry Rawdon, lung transplant, MayoClinicFL, Octavio Pajaro, pulmonary, transplant, transplantation


June 13th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Mickala the miracle: A survivor and an inspiration

By Makala Johnson

Mickala Morinville

“We knew if she made it to Mayo Clinic, she would make it,” says Judy Morinville of the September day Mayo MedAir airlifted her teenage daughter to Mayo Clinic. Mickala Morinville did make it, and her journey serves as a reminder of the miracles that can happen when you combine Mayo expertise with a higher power and a determined patient.

Mickala was in a dire situation. Her lungs were destroyed, likely by a virus, and Mickala struggled to get enough oxygen. Even getting her to Mayo was a challenge. An extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine was oxygenating Mickala’s blood. Because of the complexity of transporting these patients, most cannot move to another facility. Thankfully, Mayo MedAir has expertise that made her trip to Mayo possible. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: anesthesiology, cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Gregory Schears, Dr. Rakesh Suri, Dr. Roxanne Pike, ECMO, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, heart, ICU, Mayo MedAir, Mickala Morinville


May 13th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Girl Scout Dr. Sharonne Hayes Receives Award

By Makala Johnson

Dr. Sharonne Hayes, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, in April was named one of the Girl Scout River Valleys 2013 Women of Distinction.

When Dr. Hayes began working at Mayo Clinic, she became keenly aware that women in medicine, and particularly in cardiology, were still a minority. As she began her career in cardiology, she also saw the unique needs of women suffering from or at risk for cardiovascular disease, so in 1998 she founded Mayo Clinic’s Women’s Heart Clinic, one of the first in the country. The clinic provides sex-and gender-based cardiovascular care and women-focused research with a goal to improve clinical outcomes and advance the science. As a pioneer in the women’s health field, Dr. Hayes is a nationally recognized educator and advocate for women’s cardiovascular issues. She serves on the Board of Directors of WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. In addition to her role as cardiologist, Dr. Hayes also became the first director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Mayo Clinic in 2010.

Dr. Hayes has been a Girl Scout for as long as she can remember and credits her mother for her positive experience in scouting. She believes in the power of the Girl Scout sisterhood and knows all girls have the potential to be leaders who can make the world a better place through service.

Since 2009, Girl Scouts River Valleys has annually honored local role models whose professional accomplishments, leadership and community contributions inspire girls to reach their highest potential.

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Tags: cardiology, girl scout, heart, Sharonne Hayes, Women


March 25th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Rare heart-liver transplant gives South Carolina woman a second chance at life

By Makala Johnson

Beki Rose and familyBeki Rose and her husband, Tom, had met with half a dozen doctors, and they all said the same thing.

"They told me to go home and get my things in order," says Beki, a 51-year-old mother of three with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. The congenital condition had so damaged Beki's heart and liver that she would need a rare heart-liver transplant to survive. But a recent diagnosis of liver cancer meant that Beki was not a candidate for a liver transplant. "I was told no doctor would take my case."

Then she came to Mayo Clinic, where Russell H. Wiesner, M.D., a gastroenterologist, gave her a reason to hope. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: arrhythmogenic, Beki Rose, Dr. Russell Wiesner, heart transplant, heart-liver, liver transplant, right ventricular dysplasia