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. Mike Johnson

    Heart Valve Replacement Surgery

    I went to Mayo Clinic for heart valve replacement surgery on October 13th, was released on the 18th, and can only say excellent things about the: Surgeon Dr. Hartzell Schaff and his staff. The surgery and recovery went smoothly, I believe, due to Dr. Schaff's experience and expertise in the type of valve replacement surgery [...]

  3. How Jack Stiehl got a second birthday - thanks to a VAD

    Jack Stiehl, 71, Sun City West, Ariz., was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2004. He had difficulty breathing and was easily winded. In 2007, with ever worsening symptoms, Stiehl recalls his local physician saying he was out of options; he wasn’t a candidate for a heart transplant. Then, a friend suggested Mayo Clinic. “I [...]

  4. 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 [...]

  5. Alvin Haworth

    Alvin Haworth: Trust Yourself —and Keep Asking Questions

    Sixty five-year-old Alvin Haworth, a retired United States Navy pilot and operations analyst, was enjoying an active retirement in Jupiter, Florida. He worked first as an aircraft engine manufacturer analyst and, later, as an instructor at a local community college teaching calculus and statistics. Used to rigorous physical activity during his service in the Navy, [...]

  6. 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 [...]

  7. 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 [...]

  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. The Team Behind Team Lola

    Most 13-year-old girls wouldn't see having a scar down the middle of their chests as cool. Lola Montilla, however, is not your average 13-year-old girl. When she looks at the scar on her chest from the surgery she had at Mayo Clinic to repair the Ebstein’s anomaly heart defect she was born with, she says [...]

  10. David Hawley: Overcoming Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    What began as an isolated episode of shortness of breath and developed into symptoms of increasing fatigue in 2008, turned into an unexpected and serious medical condition for David Hawley, a retired hotel executive in Phoenix, Arizona. David Hawley received the diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic predisposition to abnormal thickening of the heart [...]

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