What should have been one of the happiest days of Jessica Grib’s life quickly turned into a nightmare when she developed peripartum cardiomyopathy.
Doug Commons, 48, is a husband, father, firefighter, and triathlete. One day in July, Doug began his day with a routine 25-mile bike ride. When he came home, Doug felt overheated and unable to cool down. Regardless, he continued on with his day and went to church with his family. While at church, however, Doug began to feel chest pain. He asked his wife, Laura (right), to bring him to Corpus Christi Medical Center – Doctors Regional in Corpus Christi, Texas. Once they entered the emergency department, Doug collapsed.
Hospital staff immediately began CPR and rushed Doug to the catheterization lab where it was determined he had suffered a massive heart attack. Dr. Thomas Alexander placed the intra-aortic balloon pump and stents to help restore blood flow, but Doug’s heart was too weak and required more support. He was in cardiogenic shock, a life-threatening condition in which the heart is suddenly unable to pump enough blood and oxygen to support the body's vital organs. Dr. Alexander then implanted the Impella CP® heart pump to support Doug’s heart and allow it to rest. Doug’s condition improved and the Impella® was removed after three days. Doug returned home two weeks later and, after time, resumed work and his exercise routine.
In September, merely two months after his heart attack, Doug participated in the Conquer the Coast bike ride and has since completed multiple races and athletic competitions.
Like many 16-year olds, Tim Deits was always moving – when not playing hockey, Tim could typically be found working out at his parents’ home gym in Huntington Beach, CA. One day, he drank a pre-workout drink and hit the weights in the garage. But shortly after he started his workout, he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed. Tim’s parents, Michelle and Ted, found their young, healthy teenage son turning blue on the floor as they returned home from walking the dog.
Ted immediately began administering CPR as his wife, Michelle, called 9-1-1. When paramedics arrived, they loaded Tim into the ambulance and used the defibrillator twice to try and reset Tim’s heartbeat. On the way to the hospital in Newport Beach, CA, they used the defibrillator once again and got a pulse, but Tim’s body had gone into cardiogenic shock: a condition that occurs when vital organs start to shut down due to lack of oxygen.
By the time Tim arrived at the hospital, doctors Anthony Caffarelli, MD, Radhakrishan Gandhi, MD and Mahmoud Eslami-Farsani, MD knew that they needed to restore blood flow to Tim’s organs right away. The physicians inserted two Impella® heart pumps: the Impella CP and Impella RP to support Tim’s heart. Just two days prior, the team became certified to administer the Impella RP device.
While on Impella support, Tim’s heart muscle was able to rest and recover, and blood flow was restored to his organs. Though his doctors initially thought Tim may need to receive a heart transplant, his heart recovered well enough to avoid it.
Days later, the Impella pumps were removed and Tim’s heart began beating on its own again. Because Tim had gone into cardiogenic shock, doctors had put him into a thermo-induced coma for several days to slow his organs from shutting down. His parents feared that there could be potential neurological damage from the coma. But when he came to, Tim had two questions right away: “Can I have a glass of water?” and “Where is my phone?”
Tim was back on Snapchat right away, catching up on the social life he’d been absent from in the days since his heart attack. After his week long recovery in the hospital, he returned home just in time for Thanksgiving. A few days after he returned home, Tim attended one of his team’s hockey games at school.
Today, Tim is feeling back to normal. Genetic tests confirmed his heart event was due to Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD), a rare form of cardiomyopathy in which the heart muscle of the right ventricle (RV) is replaced by fat and/or fibrous tissue causing the heart muscle to weaken. His doctors placed an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator – an ICD – to monitor his heartbeat, but he feels so good that he’s back to his normal and active life – playing hockey, exercising and snowboarding.
Scott Arnold learned his heart was severely weak, but due to previous bypass, he was not a candidate for surgery. That’s when Scott’s cardiologist introduced him to Protected PCI with Impella®.
A couple hours after completing a spin class, Jay Sanchez, began to feel severely ill. He drove himself to the ER and collapsed at the entrance. Medical staff rushed to save his life.
Jara Herron, mother of six and a salon and spa owner in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was eight months pregnant with her youngest child when she began feeling extremely ill. Ten days after her daughter was born, Jara was having difficulty breathing. Her husband called 9-1-1 and Jara was taken via helicopter to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.
Lauri Evans, a healthy mom, suddenly collapsed while overseeing her children’s holiday party. What began as a festive day quickly turned into a nightmare as Lauri fought for her life.
What began as a common cold, or so he thought, soon turned into life threatening condition for Jerome Cole.
In the fall of 2015, Francis “Buddy” Chase, 42, came down with flu-like symptoms. But four days later, he as diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and transferred to Tufts to rest and recover his heart.
Rogelio is able to resume his very busy lifestyle due to the benefits of revascularization from Protected PCI with Impella. As an entrepreneur, chairman of several regional organizations in Michigan, and local civic volunteer in Detroit, his schedule leaves little time for rest. So when health issues began getting in the way of his routine, Rogelio decided to go see Dr. Theodore Schreiber at Detroit Medical Center. There, Dr. Schreiber examined Rogelio’s heart and discovered that he needed to act quickly. He then introduced Rogelio to Protected PCI.
Justin Redman has lived with advanced heart disease for years and considers himself to have “the worst heart you’ve ever seen.” So when his symptoms led him to see his cardiologist, the fear of undergoing another procedure was taking a toll. That’s when Protected PCI with Impella® was first introduced to him.
Nancy Wilkins spent much time exercising and teaching line dancing. So when she blacked out following a dental cleaning, she never thought she would end up suffering a heart attack.
Joella Bobak, an EMT, was accustomed to responding to emergencies. But when she began feeling chest pain, she quickly realized she was experiencing an emergency of her own.
Duane Ackerman always considered himself to be healthy. But while exercising at the gym, he began to feel chest pain and suddenly collapsed. Gym members rushed to his side while calling 9-1-1.
In 2008, Howard Pikstein made an appointment at Genesis Hospital to address his sleeping problems. After several tests and an angiogram, physicians determined that Howard had heart failure. In fact, the physicians said his heart was so weak that he would likely need a heart transplant. Howard’s sister, director of Cancer Services at William Beaumont Hospital in Detroit, served as his primary advocate and had heard about a randomized clinical trial called PROTECT II, which was enrolling patients undergoing high-risk percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures. Howard transferred his records to William Beaumont, enrolled into Protect II, and was randomly selected to receive the Impella 2.5™. His interventional cardiologist, Dr. Simon Dixon, performed a high-risk PCI procedure and was able to place three stents to open Howards 90% blocked left main artery. A few days later, Howard was discharged from the hospital feeling a near immediate improvement. He returned to work at Ford Motors in Detroit shortly thereafter and is still feeling well today.
After Physicians and a tiny pump helped save her life, Erin Hanussak shares her family’s story to inspire others.
As a middle linebacker for the semi-pro Muskegon Mustangs football team, Stephon Betts knew what it was like to breathe hard and feel pain. At 31 years old, he assumed one day the pain in his chest and shortness of breath was probably due to overheating and dehydration, the rigors of playing a demanding game on a warm day.