Patient stories

  1. Date Night

    'Date Night' Takes on New Meaning for Heart Patient at Mayo Clinic in Arizona It would be hard to ignore the elephant in the room. This "elephant" happens to be the 400-pound artificial heart machine that is keeping alive a very special patient at Mayo Clinic in Arizona -- a 41-year-old husband and father of [...]

  2. Coming full circle: Sharing a message of hope

    Ardell Lien had always dreamed of one day sailing around the world. But when he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, the retired military man from Caledonia, Minn., thought his sailing days were behind him. "I was down to 150 pounds," says Ardell, "and everyone in town knew I was on my way out. I [...]

  3. Beki Rose and family

    Rare heart-liver transplant gives South Carolina woman a second chance at life

    Beki Rose and her husband, Tom, had met with half a dozen doctors, and they all said the same thing. "They told me to go home and get my things in order," says Beki, a 51-year-old mother of three with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. The congenital condition had so damaged Beki's heart and liver that [...]

  4. 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 [...]

  5. 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 [...]

  6. 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 [...]

  7. New technology makes heart transplant possible

    When 53-year-old JoAnn Forster of Eau Claire, Wis., had a heart attack, she was at first only aware of not feeling well. "I started perspiring and couldn't breathe," says JoAnn of her symptoms. By nightfall she was hospitalized and her doctors soon determined that JoAnn needed an additional level of care. They had her transferred [...]

  8. Mia Welch

    Heart transplant puts Mia Welch back in the dance

    Mia Welch danced to a video game while at Mayo Clinic Hospital awaiting a transplant. For months, a constant beat filled Mia Welch's room at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Arizona. But it didn't come from a radio or MP3 player. It was the beat of an artificial heart that was keeping Mia alive. Mia's troubles [...]

  9. 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 [...]

Dec. 10, 2010