ICD and LVAD lead to a better quality of life

U-M patient Theresa Sturgill shares her story

Theresa blogTheresa Sturgill is enjoying her life these days. She’s doing all the things she loves, including walking, shopping, even traveling to Wichita, Kansas, to visit her son, which is somewhat of a milestone for a woman who felt her life might be ending nine years ago.

Today, an ICD and LVAD — implantable cardioverter defibrillator and left ventricular assist device — are keeping her going strong.

An ICD provides immediate therapy for a life-threatening arrhythmia where the heart is beating too quickly or too slowly. ICDs continuously monitor heart rhythms and are programmed to deliver pacing impulses to restore the heart’s natural rhythm, which can, in some cases, avoid the need for a shock. If necessary, however, the ICD will deliver a shock to the heart.

LVADs work by pumping blood from the left ventricle (lower part of the heart) and moving it forward into the aorta, the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. LVADs assist the weakened heart muscle via a pump implanted inside the body. Continue reading

Top 10 blogs in 2014

top 10 pick blogFrom blood pressure apps for your smart phone to the longest living LVAD recipient, here are the top 10 blogs you found the most interesting in 2014:

  1. Blood pressure apps for your smart phone. Six apps for iOS and Android that feature logs, data sharing, tracking and more.
  2. What weighs 10 pounds? Post-surgery lifting advice made easier.
  3. Jennifer and Matthew Romano – A one-of-a-kind couple. A love story of two doctors – in recognition of Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month.
  4. 21 days to a less stressed you. Tips to help you manage and minimize stress in your life.
  5. 2014 flu shot: What’s new and why get it now? Everyone six months or older is encouraged to get their yearly flu vaccine.
  6. Spirituality and health: Is there a connection? Faith and support help people deal with stress.
  7. CPR saves the life of a Michigan fan. Learn how to save the life of someone in cardiac arrest.
  8. Are e-cigarettes safe? The American Heart Association calls for added restrictions on e-cigarettes.
  9. Patient room service gets big thumbs up. University of Michigan Health System patients can now order what they want, when they want it.
  10. Meet the longest living heart LVAD recipientDavid Pierce received his first LVAD on May 26, 2004, at the age of 52, making him the longest living Heartmate II LVAD patient in the U.S.

Frankel-informal-vertical-sigThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.

Jennifer and Matthew Romano — A one-of-a-kind couple

In recognition of Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month, we’re bringing you love stories about members of our Cardiovascular team, including how they met and fell in love. We think you’ll enjoy getting to know the couples among our faculty and staff!

Drs. Matthew and Jennifer Romano

Drs. Matthew and Jennifer Romano

As a couple, Jennifer Romano and Matthew Romano are close to a match made in heaven. This realization came nearly 10 years after the two first met at the University of Michigan, where they were both doing research during their general surgery residencies.

Matthew, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, and Jennifer, a Michigan native, were acquaintances during that time, but didn’t stay in touch when Matthew went back to California to finish his residency. It wasn’t until he returned to U-M for adult cardiac surgery training that the two became friends. Continue reading