Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Share this:

Posted by Makala Johnson (@makalajohnson) · Mar 25, 2013

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

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.

"Dr. Wiesner didn’t think I had liver cancer," says Beki. Imaging exams had shown large nodules on her liver, which doctors assumed were cancerous. "No one had been willing to do a biopsy until we got to Mayo."

A biopsy showed the nodules were benign. Beki was eligible for the transplant list.

Of the 130 heart-liver transplants that have been performed in the United States, 25 have been performed at Mayo Clinic — more than at any other medical center. Beki was comforted by Mayo's experience, but knew the odds still weren't in her favor.

"My panel-reactive antibody level was 93 percent, which meant my body would only accept 7 percent of donor organs," says Beki. Doctors implanted a ventricular assist device to help her heart pump blood until a viable donor heart became available. Nine months later, she received a transplant.

"My experience was amazing," says Beki, who is regaining her strength after nearly 20 years of deteriorating health. "The unusual is usual at Mayo. I wish more people would be advocates for their own health care and go to Mayo for help. Mayo is there for everyone."

Related Departments
Related Treatments

arrhythmogenic Beki Rose Dr. Russell Wiesner Heart Transplant heart-liver liver transplant right ventricular dysplasia


Have something to say? Please login or register to respond.