LVAD patient gives extra thanks this year

Cara Reischel feels blessed to be able to watch her daughter grow up

Cara Family Photo blog

Cara Reischel is giving extra thanks this holiday season … for her husband, Joel, daughter, Cora, and her improved health due to a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that was implanted in February at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

Although she admits that being an LVAD patient and getting accustomed to her new device hasn’t always been easy, Cara is a firm believer in taking one day at a time and being thankful for all that life has to offer, especially time with Joel and 11-year-old Cora.

As a baby, Cara was diagnosed with a hole in her heart, which doctors monitored closely. It wasn’t until Cara suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at age 15 that doctors changed her diagnosis to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is a congenital heart muscle disease that can affect people of any age and is a common cause of SCA in young people. Approximately one in 500 to 1,000 young people are diagnosed with the condition. Continue reading

CPR and AED: Save a life with basic knowledge

Cardiac events cause the deaths of more than 350,000 people each year

CPR hands on dummy

Basic knowledge of CPR and AED procedures can help save a life.

CPR and access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) — portable devices that measure the heart’s activity and produce a mild shock to help restore proper rhythm after a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) — can saves lives.

Knowing how to perform CPR and use an AED could save the life of a loved one.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), approximately 92 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital, but statistics prove that if more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved. Immediate CPR can double, or even triple, a victim’s chance of survival.

Niles Mayrand, director of operations at the U-M Clinical Simulation Center, Dr. James Cooke, medical director of the U-M Clinical Simulation Center, and Debra Yake, U-M’s AHA Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) & Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course coordinator and an AHA Basic Life Support (BLS) instructor with Livingston County EMS, are all pushing for those increased survival rates in both in-hospital and the out-of-hospital communities. All have a passion for raising CPR awareness and want everyone to know how to perform high quality CPR and use an AED.
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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