By Leigh C. Reardon, MD (RES ’11)
There sometimes comes a moment when you realize that what you’ve always believed to be your greatest weakness is in fact the source of your greatest strength. For me, that awakening began to flicker when I first considered entering medicine as my college years were coming to a close. I had been studying literature and economics, and I figured I would probably end up going to law school or into academia. I was working summers as a lifeguard, and to boost my pay, I decided to become an emergency medical technician (EMT). On the first day of class, the woman sitting next to me noticed the scar peeking out from the top of my shirt, and she began to cry. “You had open-heart surgery,” she said, as she leaned into me. She was right on target; when I was 5 years old, a surgeon cut into my chest to enlarge the narrow pulmonary valve that controlled the flow of blood from my heart to my lungs.. Read full article »
Patricia Crawford had literally been tinged blue all her life because her heart couldn't pump enough oxygenated blood through her body. And that was the least of her worries.
A huge aneurysm the size of a softball in her pulmonary artery was a ticking time bomb. Her heart and liver were failing, too - all adding to the reasons why it was too risky for the 49-year-old to receive the heart-lung transplant she desperately needed to survive. She had been told that she was out of options.
An expecting mother with heart disease is warned the pregnancy is too dangerous, but a team of UCLA specialists guide her through pregnancy, birth and risky open heart surgery on her newborn baby Keyota Cole was born with a bad heart.
The 33-year-old from of Bakersfield, Calif., suffers from a congenital heart disease called Ebstein's malformation of the tricuspid valve, and from abnormal pulmonary veins. She has undergone multiple surgeries over her lifetime, including one to repair a hole in her heart, a valve replacement and the implantation of a pacemaker. Read more »
Many children born with congenital heart disease require open-heart surgeries to replace their pulmonary valves with prosthetic valves and conduits. As these children grow, and the valves become dysfunctional, they require as many as five or more open-heart surgeries over the course of their lifetimes to replace poorly functioning valves. A promising new catheter-based approach to replacing these valves may help patients reduce the number of required surgeries, and minimize side effects, by moving the procedure from the operating room to the cardiac-catheterization lab.