Patient stories

  1. Near-death experience brings second chance, new calling

    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 [...]

  2. Austin Adamson

    Heart repair doesn’t slow baseball player for long

    Austin Adamson, 19, was a day away from having heart surgery that would require a median sternotomy – “cracking open” the sternum (breastbone) to reach the heart – when he learned he was a candidate for a less-invasive procedure at Mayo Clinic. Adamson, who lives in Wilmer, Minn., had an atrial septal defect, a congenital [...]

  3. Bobbie Sofia

    Incredible Journey: Surviving an Incurable Disease

    “Couldn’t breathe, gasping for air,” is how Bobbie Sofia describes the first sign that something was wrong. In 2007, Bobbie Sofia and her husband, Sam, traveled to San Antonio, Texas from their home of almost forty years in Lake Havasu City, Arizona to attend their daughter, Ashley's, graduation from Air Force Basic Training. While enjoying [...]

  4. Abby Kuhlmann

    Abby's Heart Surgery Story

      Here's a note we received this week from Kathryn Kuhlmann, the mother of a Mayo Clinic pediatric patient: My daughter, Abby, who is 11, had heart surgery at Mayo on May 29, and she recorded a short video tour of her hospital room to share with some family and friends. I'm contacting you at [...]

  5. Dan Olson

    A heart transplant put him back in the race

    As a marathon runner and long-distance cyclist, Dan Olson thought his athletic lifestyle ensured a healthy body. But in 2002, at age 38, Dan was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a condition that weakens and enlarges the heart muscle. "I couldn't believe it," he says. "I kept thinking, 'I'm in good shape. It can't really be that [...]

  6. Kay and Ben Thiemann

    Mayo Clinic is my answer

    People often ask 22-year-veteran Kay Thiemann why she has stayed at Mayo Clinic for so many years. Her answer is simple: “Because we embrace our mission to put the needs of the patient first. And because we are committed to delivering quality care for our patients each and every time. It is very important to [...]

  7. Amy Brase

    Lesson learned: Don’t ignore nagging chest pain

    For weeks, Amy Brase had brushed off nagging chest pain. “It just didn’t seem like an emergency,” says Brase, a 36-year-old writer and mother of three from Oronoco, Minn. But after reading an article on heart attack symptoms in women, her husband, Adam, began doing a bit of nagging himself. “Adam e-mailed me part of [...]

  8. When Medication is No Longer Effective for Atrial Fibrillation

    Ron Boyle has had atrial fibrillation for twelve years.  He recalls, “When I was in a-fib most of the time, getting upstairs was a problem.  Just doing daily routine was a problem.  Get up in the morning and being totally fatigued and that’s the way the day would start.”  His previous medications were no longer [...]

  9. Adrian Fernandez

    Mayo Patient/Race Car Driver Scores Big Wins for Heart Health and at Sebring

    Generally when the heart of Adrian Fernandez is beating at a frenetic pace, he’s behind the wheel of a race car, and a highly trained and loyal pit crew is waiting around the next turn of the track to spring into action. Not so much when Adrian was on the treadmill at Mayo Clinic in [...]

  10. John Thomas playing the piano

    A Heartening Song: From One Patient to Another

    The young are bullet-proof.  Or they seem to think they are. That’s probably why we don’t see middle-aged X-games athletes.  Rare, too, is the 65 year old motocross racer or the social security recipient who spends his free time sky diving.  The line between good choices and not-so-healthy choices is often blurry for the young.  [...]

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