Cardiovascular patient stories

  1. 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 [...]

  2. 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, [...]

  3. 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 [...]

  4. A Second Opinion for Trevor

    Shortly after he was born in early 2008, Trevor King was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, a condition that could cause sudden cardiac death. He may be the youngest patient ever to get a pacemaker-defibrillator, a device that sends an electric shock to the heart when it detects a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm. But in [...]

  5. Naomi playing volleyball

    Naomi Atrubin, American Heart Association Heart and Stroke Hero winner award

    Naomi Atrubin of Rochester, Minnesota, is a two-time heart attack survivor. Not only is she a survivor, but she is also an active volunteer in the community, giving back to others through educating people she meets about heart disease. One of Naomi’s volunteer interests is participating in Mayo Clinic’s One Voice patient/family advisory council for [...]

  6. 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 [...]

  7. 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 [...]

  8. Kirk Watson and his wife

    Rare treatment for rare disease: Triple transplant

    On June 14, 2011, after a 107-day wait in the hospital at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Kirk Watson, 44, received the news he’d been waiting for — a heart, liver and kidney were available for him. He would be the fourth person to receive a triple transplant at Mayo Clinic and only the 11th [...]

  9. 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 [...]

  10. Clot-Busting Drug Study Aims to Help Stroke Patients With no Options

    Coughing. That is the sound that awoke Jennifer McDougal on the morning on Dec. 28, 2010. Her husband, Rodney, was in the bathroom preparing for work, and coughing. Suddenly, he collapsed. Rodney, then 42, had a history of hypertension, so Jennifer immediately took his blood pressure. It measured 230/100 — dangerously high. “I didn’t know [...]

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