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New imaging technology helps determine cause, treatment for heart symptoms Many surfers fear sharks. But not Mike Politowicz, 45, a seasoned surfer with 30 years of experience. “Surfing is a form of relaxation,” he says. Relaxation, that is, mixed with a little adrenalin and heart-pounding anticipation of a good ride. But on Aug. 7, 2010, as Politowicz paddled out for a wave on a Florida beach, his heart sensation was something else altogether. He began feeling sick to his stomach. He tried to paddle through it but soon realized something was terribly wrong.
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 ...
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 heart condition in which a hole exists in the wall between the two upper heart chambers. The defect was detected in a routine pre-college physical exam. When listening to Adamson’s heart through a stethoscope, the physician heard a “whooshing” sound — a common sign of atrial septal defect. Over time, atrial septal defect would enlarge and weaken the right side of the heart. Adamson had sought care and planned to have surgery at another medical center. Then a nurse acquaintance of his stepmother, Lisa Adamson, mentioned that Mayo Clinic offered a minimally invasive procedure. The family scheduled a consultation with Harold Burkhart, M.D., a cardiovascular surgeon at Mayo Clinic, who determined that Adamson was a good candidate for minimally invasive open heart surgery.
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. That line is wisdom; something older folks have in spades. Even the most adventurous middle-aged individual in his or her boldest moment is often content to live on the periphery of crazy. They have already begun to understand cause and effect, whereas the young – particularly college-aged and twenty-somethings, don’t think about risk or the possibility of broken bones or social security. They think even less about heart health. But then again, most people don’t. A local Jazz musician named John Thomas is one of those folks.
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 muscle, just two years ago. HCM affects one in 500 Americans, making it more common than muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or AIDS. It affects each person differently; there is no "typical" HCM patient and no standard treatment.
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 nearly two dozen emergency personnel, including many volunteer first responders. The group took turns performing CPR on Snitzer for 96 minutes, more than 30 minutes longer than previously documented out-of-hospital cardiac arrest durations. Snitzer’s story begins one cold evening in January, when he headed to Don’s Foods in rural Goodhue, Minn., to buy a tank of propane for his grill. But Snitzer never made it inside. Instead, he experienced cardiac arrest and fell to the ground on the sidewalk just outside the store.
Born almost 60 years apart, pen pals Carol Allan and Alli Szewczynski share an unusual bond. Both were “blue babies,” born with heart defects that impaired proper blood circulation, causing a blue tinge to their skin. And both had successful life-changing surgeries at Mayo Clinic. Carol Allan’s story Carol, 68, of Calgary, Alberta, was diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot, a rare congenital heart condition caused by a combination of four heart defects. The defects meant that oxygen-poor blood flowed out of Carol’s heart and into the rest of her body. As a child, Carol was extremely fatigued, out of breath and lacked the stamina to walk, run or play outdoors. When she was 15, her school principal requested she stay home until her health improved.
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 was severely debilitated when I went to Mayo, but I was hopeful they could help me,” says Stiehl. “I didn’t want to die.” A week after his first appointment, Stiehl had open heart surgery to implant a ventricular assist device (VAD) to support his ailing heart. Now, Stiehl celebrates two birthdays — his actual birthday on Nov. 21 and the day he received his VAD, Jan. 10, 2008.
Instead of honeymooning in Ireland, Adam Janusz and his wife, Saori, took a journey of the heart. Janusz, then 32, was diagnosed with a rare heart ailment, requiring ventricular assist devices (VAD) to keep his heart pumping. Eventually, he’d need a heart transplant. The couple’s odyssey started when they’d been married for less than two years and were preparing for a delayed honeymoon. Then Janusz got sick with what he thought was a cold. His lungs felt congested. An X-ray indicated pneumonia. He didn’t feel any better a week later, and he began to notice his pulse “wasn’t right.” He had difficulty eating and sleeping.
Photo: Daniela, pictured top left, enjoys time with her brothers and sister at our home in Ecuador after her procedure at Mayo Clinic. Written by her ...
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 ...
nEven though the New York Yankees ended the Minnesota Twins' playoff hopes on Saturday night, the first season in Target Field was lined with attendance ...