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.