February 18, 2011
10:00am - 1:30pm
Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
24 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44113
Heart transplant patient now enjoys the simple things
Despite dealing with deteriorating health for years due to complications of heart failure, Denise Daniels never stopped doing what needed to be done. She took care of her family and her home, and continued working as a sales and service representative for AT&T.
Denise’s cardiologist referred her to James Fang, MD, Chief Medical Officer, University Hospitals Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute; and Medical Director, UH Heart Failure, Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Assistance Program to see if heart transplantation might be an option for Denise. After completing all the testing and education that transplant candidates must undergo, Denise was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant on June 15, 2009.
When Denise’s cardiac condition worsened, Dr. Fang placed her on a special drug that helped her heart pump but had to be delivered through a continuous intravenous (IV) infusion pump, worn under her clothing.
The IV therapy helped, allowing her to continue working, and just about the time Dr. Fang was planning to increase the dosage of medication, a heart became available.
“I didn’t even hear the phone ring, as I was taking a hot bath. I got out of the tub, and saw that I had missed several calls and had messages from Lisa Willis, my heart transplant coordinator,” said Denise. “My first thought was no way; the entire thing just seemed like a dream. But, it was real, and I dropped everything and headed in to University Hospitals Case Medical Center.”
Denise underwent a successful heart transplant on January 23, 2010, just three days before her 48th birthday. The surgery was performed by Arie Blitz, MD, Surgical Director, UH Heart Failure, Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Assistance Program; and Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Her recovery went very smoothly. In two days, she was sitting up in bed, drinking water. She was discharged from UH just two weeks after her transplant, and was back to work in 12 weeks.
“Denise is the ideal transplant patient,” said Lisa Willis, RN, CCTC. “She was never really down, always has a positive attitude, and she was able to continue with daily activities virtually up until the time she came into the hospital for her transplant, and then she was back to work in record time.”
Today, Denise is appreciating having the ability to do routine activities that had been challenging for many years. “I noticed a change almost immediately following my transplant – I was no longer short of breath,” she said. “It had become really difficult for me to go from one level of my house to the next, or to go grocery shopping. But now, I can do those things, and so much more, with ease.”
James Fang, MD, Chief Medical Officer, UH Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute; and Medical Director, UH Heart Failure, Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Assistance Program
“Heart transplantation is an ideal therapy for a person like Denise, who was suffering from severe intractable heart failure. University Hospital’s Harrington Mc-Laughlin Heart & Vascular Institute is one of several centers in Ohio offering this life sustaining therapy,” said James Fang, MD, Chief Medical Officer, UH Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute; and Medical Director, UH Heart Failure, Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Assistance Program.
“And, for those patients for whom transplantation may not be the ideal option, heart pumps can now be offered to improve quality and length of life.”
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