Ken Gardner battled heart failure and cancer and now has a donor heart and a newfound perspective on life. He swims, he stays active, and he feels stronger than ever. Watch his story:
Mike Mader, of Salt Lake City, knows a thing or two about heart attacks. In the past nine years, he’s suffered 16 of them — and he’s only 31.
Very few people have 16 heart attacks and live to talk about it, but Mike did and is thriving after becoming the first adult recipient in the Intermountain West to receive a combined heart/liver transplant at Intermountain Medical Center on April 23, 2013. Watch his story, from Fox 13 News:
"I was listed for a heart transplant in June of 2012. about a year later, I went in for a routine heart failure visit, and it was actually pretty morbid. The nurses told me I had about two to three weeks to live. I went to bed that night with an idea of things I wanted to do as my last efforts on earth, but the next morning at 9 a.m. I received a call from the hospital telling me they had a potential heart donor. So in a matter of 12 hours, I took on a new perspective on how I was going to start my second opportunity for life." Watch her story:
Diagnosis: Peripartum Cardiomyopathy
Treatment: Heart Transplantation
When Allyson was pregnant with her now 8-year-old son, a flu virus severely weakened her heart. After eight months of an uneventful pregnancy, she was retaining pounds of fluid and could hardly muster the strength to crawl in bed. Allyson had developed peripartum cardiomyopathy: a form of heart failure that inexplicably occurs in some women during pregnancy.
Doctors decided to induce labor more than a month early, after her heart began to deteriorate. An obstetrician, cardiologist, and pediatrician were all present in the labor room. Allyson told her husband and family if only one life could be saved, she wanted it to be the baby’s.
Allyson’s son Benjamin grew healthy and strong, but her heart continued to decline over the next six years. While Allyson would experience good weeks and bad, in 2007 things changed for the worse. During a hiking trip to Europe she began experiencing severe abdominal pain with any physical exertion. When she returned to the Heart Failure Clinic with an ejection fraction of less than 20 percent, doctors determined she needed a heart transplant.
Allyson received a new heart on March 16, 2007.
Since her heart transplant, Allyson has enjoyed spending time with her husband and son. She has also returned to work doing public relations for the Capitol Preservation Board and the governor. “Our lives have been changed forever in our household,” she said. “I have to tell you, it’s a blessing.”
Although doctors still aren’t sure what causes peripartum cardiomyopathy, researchers at Intermountain Medical Center have discovered genetic markers that predict higher risk for the disease. By monitoring high-risk patients sooner, doctors can provide better cardiac care for pregnant mothers and their children.