Teen’s reaction after heart transplant goes viral

Trevor Sullivan’s mother hadn’t even meant to videotape her son’s emotional awakening after heart transplant surgery. She’d intended to take a photo with her mobile phone, but accidentally set it on video, instead.

Trevor, 15, said it was OK. He wanted to tell friends and family following his medical journey on Facebook that he felt “amazing” after 10 months on a transplant waiting list. “I’m so happy,” he said tearfully. “I’ve been waiting so long…I can breathe again. I can talk.”

The Southfield, Mich., family posted the touching video online, and it was shared on the Facebook site for Gift of Life Michigan. The video went viral from there, attracting upwards of 1.7 million views and international media coverage including nods from CNN, the Today show and the Washington Post.

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Heart patients ask: Is it safe for me to exercise?

heart patients and exrcise blog

It’s that time of year when many of us consider a renewed commitment to exercise and getting in shape. But if you have a heart condition, the decision to exercise might not be a matter of resolution. Instead, like many of my patients, you might be asking yourself: Is it safe for me to exercise?

Your ability to exercise depends on your diagnosis and should always be discussed with your healthcare provider. A patient with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, for example, typically has some restrictions on competitive exercise, though most habitual exercise-type activities would still be encouraged. Continue reading

Playing a new tune after heart failure and heart transplant (VIDEO)

Scot Cannell shares his journey through heart failure at U-M

Band teacher Scot Cannell, 50, and his cardiologists at the University of Michigan would come up with a solution at each low point in treating his heart disease:  an implantable cardiac defibrillator to keep his heart rhythm in check, then a left ventricular assist device to support his weakened heart.

In life and in Cannell’s world of music, hitting the high notes often takes hard work. Three years after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, Cannell’s best option for living was a heart transplant.

“I had no family history of heart disease and I found myself in need of a new heart,” says Cannell, of Saline, Mich., a husband and father of three. “I dealt with it all with great support and humor whenever we could.

“The scariest part was hearing during the transplant evaluation that I had end stage heart failure. A nurse could see it upset me and she put a hand on my shoulder and told me, ‘End stage heart disease is just what it’s called. It doesn’t mean the end is here.’ ” Continue reading

One family, three implantable cardioverter defibrillators

Jeanette McDonald cares for herself and two sons with ICDs

caregiver heart blogJeanette McDonald has a lot on her plate, but you won’t hear her complain. Not only is she a U-M cardiomyopathy patient who has had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) for the last three years — she’s also the mother of two boys who have ICDs.

An ICD provides immediate therapy for a life-threatening arrhythmia where the heart is beating too quickly by providing a jolt of electricity — a treatment called defibrillation. An ICD continuously monitors heart rhythms and is programmed to deliver pacing impulses to restore the heart’s natural rhythm, which can, in some cases, help avoid the need for a shock.

After her own diagnosis, U-M cardiologists recommended Jeanette’s sons be tested for the heart condition. Both tested positive and received ICDs within months of each other: Ian at the age of 20 and Jacob at the age of 18. Today, three years later, neither son has symptoms of cardiomyopathy — something they are all grateful for. Continue reading

LVAD patient pays it forward

Educating patients and first responders is his mission

Furman Dillard 1 Blog

Furman Dillard wants to educate others about LVADs, using his own LVAD to give first-hand demonstrations.

Furman Dillard of Ann Arbor is thankful to the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular team for giving him a second chance at life.

Furman’s heart issues began in 2000 when he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. His doctor recommended he be seen at the Frankel CVC, where it was determined he needed a defibrillator due to an irregular heartbeat. Then, in 2010, Furman suffered a series of strokes and, ultimately, organ failure. His only option was a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which was implanted by Dr. Francis Pagani in 2012. Since the surgery, Furman is walking, working out, cooking and feeling fortunate to be alive.

But that’s not all … Continue reading