Mayo Clinic Q&A

From complex or serious conditions like cancer and heart disease to the latest news on research and wellness, host Dr. Halena Gazelka asks the questions and gets easy-to-understand answers from Mayo Clinic experts

Episodes Justin's journey and silver linings

Justin’s journey and silver linings
November 24, 2021

At the age of 15, Justin Vigile was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition that causes the muscles of the heart to thicken, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood. Vigile had a cardiac defibrillator placed, but over time, his heart began to fail. 

When looking for answers and help, Vigile and his family turned to Mayo Clinic. Thanks to science, research and an innovative procedure performed by the man who developed it, Justin got his life back. 

At Mayo, Dr. Hartzell Schaff, a cardiovascular surgeon, gave Vigile an alternative to heart transplant in the form of apical myectomy, a surgical procedure to relieve symptoms caused by the thickening of muscle in the apex of his heart. 

It's a procedure that Dr. Schaff developed at Mayo Clinic in 1996. Vigile feels grateful for the surgery and the surgeon. 

"Dr. Schaff changed my life, which is obvious. But it also changed the lives of my friends and family. I was able to meet the woman that I fell in love with. I've been able to pursue my dreams." Those dreams include writing music for NFL films and becoming a podcaster.

Now, almost 10 years later, Vigile and Dr. Schaff reunite on the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast. Also on the program, Justin's podcast partner, Darrell Campbell, joins the conversation to talk about the Everyman Podcast and how they've found silver linings along the way.