February 2nd, 2015 · Leave a Comment
Marla Burkhart’s heart was functioning at roughly 30 percent when she was rushed to the hospital for an emergency cesarean section eight weeks before the due date of her first child. After she and her husband had chosen a name for their child, she placed her faith in her heart and the support of a network of family, friends, co-workers and Mayo Clinic staff, as baby Noah was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, and Marla, to the Critical Cardiac Care Unit.
Just three hours prior to the surgery, Marla had been diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare pregnancy-related heart condition. Occurring in roughly 1 in 3,000 deliveries, it is the result of an enlarged, weakened heart. The condition is generally diagnosed during the last months of pregnancy and causes inefficient blood circulation.
Marla originally thought her symptoms were just normal changes resulting from her pregnancy. Even when her legs gave out at eight weeks, she shrugged it off. She had problems sleeping due to shortness of breath, and she eventually had to sleep upright.
Marla switched to Mayo Clinic from another provider in the middle of her pregnancy because she had struggled with becoming pregnant in the past and says she wanted the best possible care. At her 32-week appointment, she described her continued discomfort to her physician. An ECG revealed an abnormality. She was shocked by the diagnosis. Read the rest of this entry »
January 7th, 2015 · Leave a Comment
When Lynn Gallett was diagnosed with breast cancer, she had a number of concerns and decisions to make. In the video below, Lynn discusses the process and her experience at Mayo Clinic.
August 14th, 2013 · 1 Comment
[Editor's Note: Following is an article by Mary I. O'Connor, M.D., chair of the Department of Orthopedics at Mayo Clinic in Florida, sharing her perspective on how gender affects the care of women today.]
Should a woman have a female doctor? As a woman and an orthopedic surgeon, I am sometimes asked that question. While some women may be more comfortable discussing intimate matters related to sexual and reproductive health with a woman physician, a general assumption is that the care provided to patients by physicians is not influenced by gender. Unfortunately, data suggests that women do not always receive the same care as men.
This is not a simple issue. There are many factors that influence the patient-physician interaction and relationship. But the factor that may be the most powerful may be one we know surprisingly little about in the health care setting: unconscious bias. Unconscious bias may be the reason women receive fewer kidney transplants and heart surgeries. It may be so powerful that it even influences the care provided to children. A 2011 study by Butani and Perez showed girls are 22 percent less likely to be placed on a kidney transplant list than boys. Because an earlier transplant equates to better health, this gender disparity likely impacts the long-term outcome of these young women.
May 17th, 2013 · Leave a Comment
So I wonder if anyone else spent part of Tuesday, May 14, 2013, pondering what they would do.
Would they take the test to learn if they were at increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer? What if it came back positive? What decision would they make – to keep their breasts and uterus or remove them? Read the rest of this entry »
May 13th, 2013 · Leave a Comment
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.
March 21st, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Sue Willingham remembers the May 2010 day well. She was getting ready to take her two children to school. But before leaving the house, she did what any mom might – use the restroom.
But then she noticed she’d lightly soiled her undergarments. Only she didn’t remember it happening.
At 45, Willingham was the picture of health. She ate well, exercised and stayed up on doctor visits. But in that moment, something changed. She called her husband. “I remember telling him I’m scared,” she says.
But then Willingham, who describes herself as someone who is not easily rattled, tried to rationalize the accident, chalking it up to the six fiber pills she’d taken the day before to combat constipation.
“Being one that does not jump to conclusions or get upset or scared of anything easily, I said this is ridiculous, crazy, there is nothing wrong with me. I have no cancer in my family. I have no anything…” But today she admits, “Maybe subconsciously I had been aware of what he had gone through the year before.”
February 19th, 2013 · Leave a Comment
By Paul Scotti
Sometimes miracles happen when you least expect them. No one believes that more than Fleming Island, Florida resident Shirley Thompson, whose tale of how she received two new lungs while in a medically induced coma at Mayo Clinic hospital in Florida isn’t exactly the typical scenario.
The 48-year old married, mother of two was first diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) in March 2012 by her local pulmonologist after undergoing an EKG and experiencing shortness of breath. She was eventually referred to Mayo Clinic for an evaluation and was put on continuous high flow oxygen during treatment for her lung condition. Read the rest of this entry »
February 15th, 2013 · Leave a Comment
By Jason Pratt
The sixth annual 26.2 with Donna: The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer is less than two days away and many of the 10,000-plus participants are anything but seasoned athletes. Take Karol Rajos, a Mayo Clinic employee, who wanted to find a way to honor her Aunt Esther, a breast cancer survivor, and her grandmother Ninita, who passed away from the disease. The annual marathon held each February seemed like a good outlet. So in 2011, Rajos ran her first half marathon.
February 5th, 2013 · Leave a Comment
By Jason Pratt
While one would expect members of Mayo Clinic’s department of neurology to support community events, you’d probably assume it would be related to things like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s or Lou Gerhig’s disease (also known as ALS). But breast cancer? Indeed.
It seems as if everyone knows someone who is affected by the disease and Mayo Clinic neurologists Elliot Dimberg, M.D. and Kathleen Kennelly, M.D., Ph.D. and several of their colleagues, are no exception.
While Dr. Dimberg’s practice clearly does not focus on breast cancer patients, research opportunities are important to the neurologist, who says he’s lacing up his sneakers on for a third time to participate in the 26.2 with Donna in part because of the great relationship between the organization and Mayo Clinic. He cites the marathon’s contributions to help spur bench research. “I love being a part of something that directly benefits both the clinic and the local community,” he says.
January 24th, 2013 · Leave a Comment
By Jason Pratt
Thousands are preparing to lace up their sneakers for the sixth annual 26.2 with Donna: The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer on Sunday, February 17, 2013, and in doing so, supporting ongoing research (PDF) at Mayo Clinic related to breast cancer.
Ashley Crofton is one of them. Although she works in Mayo Clinic’s Department of Transplant, she is committed to the Donna marathon and is preparing to run her second half marathon on Feb. 17. She participates each year for her Aunt Donna - no relation to Donna Deegan – who Crofton says is the strongest woman she ever met. Read the rest of this entry »