92-year-old U-M TAVR patient honored

Madge Cowles makes the trip of a lifetime, thanks to her TAVR

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Photograph by Leisa Thompson.

At the tender age of 92, Weltha “Madge” Cowles still looks forward to new experiences. In fact, she recently returned from what she says was the experience of a lifetime: being honored in Washington, D.C., for her Rosie the Riveter work during World War II. Rosie the Riveter was the name given to American women who worked in factories and shipyards during WW II.

Madge became a “Rosie” at the Willow Run bomber plant in Ypsilanti at age 18. Eventually, she was trained to perform electrical work on bomber planes, alongside her father. For three years, the pair drove from their home in Albion to Willow Run, working during the week and sleeping in a trailer, then returning home on weekends. “I enjoyed my work and fellow workers. I never missed a single day,” she says proudly. Continue reading

Groundbreaking app for atrial fibrillation patients

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A new app designed to monitor symptoms associated with atrial fibrillation, or Afib, is being evaluated as part of a University of Michigan study. Developed by U-M cardiologist Dr. Hamid Ghanbari, “miAfib” allows patients to more accurately communicate their atrial fibrillation symptoms in real time.

Tracking Afib sypmtoms

Atrial fibrillation is the most prevalent major arrhythmia in the United States. It can lead to an increased risk of stroke, congestive heart failure and overall mortality. What is much less certain, says Dr. Ghanbari, is the association between Afib symptoms, affect and heart rhythm on a daily basis. Continue reading

New procedure offers hope for aortic aneurysm patients

Frank Korany is back to enjoying life’s adventures after minimally invasive fenestrated endograft procedure

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Frank is back to playing his saxophone.

Frank Korany knew something was very wrong when he was transferred from one hospital near his home to the University of Michigan emergency room in 2013. As it turned out, the aortic aneurysm he had been diagnosed with in 2007 (and which his doctors were monitoring) had grown so large that only a team of specialists like those at the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center had the necessary expertise to treat him.

Frank was no stranger to heart issues. He had experienced congestive heart failure, which led to a pacemaker in 2008, followed by surgery to insert two stents and then a serious infection that required removal of the pacemaker and impacted his joints and teeth. “I had to learn to walk again,” Frank says, due to the severity of the joint infection.

When he was admitted to U-M for treatment of the seven-centimeter aneurysm growing in his aorta, Frank jokingly posted this message on his Facebook page: “Vacationing in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan.” Continue reading

TAVR aortic valve replacement helps 95-year-old thrive

University of Michigan TAVR patient celebrates another Christmas

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Joe Solak is happy to celebrate his 95th Christmas this year with his daughter, son-in-law, two sons and three grandchildren.

Joe Solak will celebrate his 95th Christmas this year, thanks to the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) he received at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center for his aortic stenosis.

Aortic stenosis is a condition in which the aortic valve does not open fully, decreasing blood flow from the heart to the body. Although open-heart surgery is the treatment of choice for aortic stenosis, about one-third of patients with this disease are not candidates for the surgery and stand to benefit from less invasive heart valve replacement options.

Joe was one of these patients. His age and heart history, including bypass surgery in 1995 and a congestive heart failure condition, put him at high risk for open-heart surgery. According to Joe’s daughter, Donna Ruemenapp, her dad just wanted to feel better. “He was tired, short of breath and couldn’t sleep due to congestive heart failure.” And while his former doctor recommended treating his symptoms rather pursuing other options, Joe and Donna weren’t about to give up. Continue reading

Tailgating and alcohol: Information to take to heart

Why does my heart race after drinking?

Tailgating and alcohol

Before you head out to your next tailgate party, make sure you’re aware of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.

It’s football season, and with it comes the fun of tailgating … and often an increase in alcohol consumption. Dr. Kenneth Tobin, clinical assistant professor for the Department of Internal Medicine and director in the Chest Pain Center at the University of Michigan, says patients often ask questions about alcohol and heart health, including: “Why does my heart race after drinking alcohol?” Dr. Tobin discusses this question and other alcohol/heart health issues here–information about tailgating and alcohol you can take to heart this football season. Continue reading