Cardiovascular patient stories

  1. 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 [...]

  2. 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 [...]

  3. Stories of the Heart

    Mayo Clinic heart patients and family members returned to Mayo in Oct. 2008 to share stories of their care through a program called "Stories of the Heart: Through the Eyes of Our Patients." Patients talked about their care at Mayo Clinic, focusing on the impact of Mayo staff during their stay. "Hearing patients tell their [...]

  4. 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 [...]

  5. The Flu, a Grocery Store Clinic and a Mayo Clinic Nurse May Have Saved My Life

    My head pounded incessantly. With every sip of water, I felt like I was swallowing razor blades. I coughed and wheezed so hard that my stomach muscles ached. But as sick as I was, this would be one of my healthiest days, because a visit with a vigilant nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic may have [...]

  6. 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 [...]

  7. Specialized care team approach helps triumph over high risk pregnancy

    As Rachel Willenberg, and her husband Seth, look at their two healthy daughters today, they are reminded of the specialized obstetrics and cardiovascular care at Mayo Clinic that made having a family possible. For years before her first visit to Mayo Clinic, Rachel endured baffling symptoms of breathlessness, bruising on her chest, and swelling in [...]

  8. 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 [...]

  9. 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 [...]

  10. Quadruple Bypass at Age 24

    Last spring, Ravuth Thorng, then just 24, noticed it was increasingly difficult to do ordinary tasks, such as walking to his car. “I felt out of breath walking from my parking spot to work,” says Thorng, who worked at a home improvement store in Rochester, Minn. In retrospect, he recalls that during the previous winter, [...]

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