Patient stories

  1. Heidi Ash

    Mayo Clinic's 185th Heart Transplant Patient and her "Chocolat"

    I wish I knew more ways to say, “Thank you”. I was given not just a second chance at life, but also a life with possibilities never imagined. Being born with congenital heart defects, my first open-heart surgery was performed when I was five-days-old. Six more heart surgeries followed before being tremendously fortunate to have [...]

  2. Ron Reffitt Jr and his family.

    Michigan heart patient counting blessings

    This story was submitted by Ron Reffitt Jr. In this photo, I'm holding my first grandson, Blake, born this summer to my daughter, Jennifer, behind me, and her husband, Brandon. My sons, Cody and Ron, are on the other side of me. The smile on my face says it all -- how happy and grateful [...]

  3. Kari Ulrich

    Before and After Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD) Diagnosis

    Kari Ulrich, a patient with Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD), shares her story of struggles before and after being diagnosed with FMD in 2007. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PPy26amqyc Kari writes: "Looking back to my early twenties, I suspected that the symptoms I was experiencing were not something every twenty year old faced. I always looked healthy on the outside. I [...]

  4. Ron Reffitt Jr. with Dr. Hartzell Schaff and Dr. Vuyisile Nkomo

    Michigan man's care highlights Mayo's culture, expertise

    Just days after being told he had a tumor inside his heart, Ron Reffitt Jr., of Elk Rapids, Mich., was on a medical airplane headed to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Gazing down at Lake Michigan on that beautiful sunny day in January 2009, he wondered: Is this the last time I’ll see this? His [...]

  5. A Family Member's Point of View

    By Lindsay Engelstad I was not a patient at the Mayo Clinic Hospital, but my mother was. Prior to her going into the hospital, I always hear people say “Go to the Mayo Clinic it is the best place to be if you are sick”. Yeah right, it is a hospital and all hospitals are the [...]

  6. Howard Snitzer

    96 minutes of CPR — and living to tell the tale

    Howard Snitzer will be the first to tell you he’s a lucky man. “I just wish I’d won the lottery instead,” he says, jokingly. But Snitzer knows his good fortune netted him something much more valuable: his life. Snitzer, a 54-year-old chef, miraculously survived a cardiac arrest thanks to a flawless and unrelenting response from [...]

  7. Soccer Mom Strokes on the Field

    The phrase “soccer mom” might be a cliché, but for Jessica Cook of Jacksonville, Fla., it was apropos. The mom of three boys (ages 6, 10 and 13) spent hours in the car each week driving her sons from one field to another for their weekly soccer practices and games. With a family history of [...]

  8. Mike Politowicz

    Heart attack — not shark attack — almost brings surfer down

    New imaging technology helps determine cause, treatment for heart symptoms Many surfers fear sharks. But not Mike Politowicz, 45, a seasoned surfer with 30 years of experience. “Surfing is a form of relaxation,” he says. Relaxation, that is, mixed with a little adrenalin and heart-pounding anticipation of a good ride. But on Aug. 7, 2010, [...]

  9. WomenHeart Sisters

    The Heart of a Woman

    Written by heart attack survivor Susan Cardelli: Just last week was the 10th Anniversary of my heart attack---January 25, 2001---or as the medical community would call it "A Cardiac Event". Whenever I hear it referred to as a "cardiac event", I always picture myself walking down the red carpet, dressed in a sequined hospital gown, [...]

  10. Dr. Michael Ackerman and Stefani

    A Prom Promise Kept

    As an 8-year-old girl from Michigan was headed into surgery for a heart transplant, she asked Mike Ackerman -- a pediatric cardiology fellow at Mayo who was part of her care team -- if she was going to live. Dr. Ackerman said, "Of course you're going to live, and I'm going to dance with you [...]

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