• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: A new heart and new adventures for Elise

March 24, 2019

heart transplant patient Elise Campbell hiking in a caveA lifesaving heart transplant at Mayo Clinic helped Elise Campbell break free from the physical limitations of a rare genetic heart condition she had lived with since she was 14. Now Elise is relishing the opportunity to enjoy experiences she never thought possible.

Elise Campbell was 14 when doctors in her home state of Iowa told her there was something wrong with her heart. But they weren't sure what it was.

"One of them finally said, 'We don't really know what you have, but we do know you have a pretty rare heart condition," Elise says. It would be another 13 years, however, before Elise would get a diagnosis. "Finally, they said, 'We're going to send you to Mayo Clinicbecause they're going to really be able to evaluate you and find out exactly what it is that you have,'" she recalls.

When Elise and her family drove north to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, a team of medical professionals was ready to do just that. "They did a complete workup on me," Elise says. "Through that, they determined I had left ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy, which — as my doctors in Iowa had said — is a pretty rare genetic heart condition."

The news wasn't easy for the 27-year-old to process. But with her family at her side and the support of her Mayo Clinic care team, Elise received the education and treatment plan she needed to return home and continue living her life. Several years later, though, the situation changed. After dealing with a stroke and battling ongoing fatigue, Elise learned her heart was giving out. She needed a transplant.

Although the process took some time, Elise eventually received that heart transplant. Since then, her world has opened to a host of new activities and adventures, including yoga, biking and hiking.

"Because I could never do it before, it's more exciting to do all of this stuff now," Elise says. "I never thought I was going to be able to do anything like this in my life." Read the rest of Elise's story.
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.