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

U-M doctors lead research studies on rare heart diseases

February 28 is Rare Disease Day

researcher blog

Researchers at University of Michigan are leading the way in identifying and developing treatment for rare cardiac diseases.

Rare diseases affect almost 25 million Americans. Worldwide, there are more than 6,000 rare diseases. The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a leader in treating many rare heart diseases. As an academic hospital, U-M researchers are at the forefront of studies aimed at identifying and treating unique cardiac diseases.

According to Dr. Santhi Ganesh, a specialist in cardiology and genetics at the University of Michigan, “Our doctors take a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to research projects as we share knowledge.”

Dr. Ganesh believes that more rare diseases are being identified because of advancements in the study of genetics and new technologies. “It’s important that we continue to fund research into the study of rare diseases. We need to keep up in this important area.”

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Sudden cardiac arrest: Is your student athlete at risk?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy accounts for 40 percent of SCA cases

image - SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) and student athletes

Ryan Cliff, who experienced sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) during his first time as a starter in his high school soccer game.

The beginning of another school year means the beginning of school sports including football, soccer, cross country and swimming. All too often, school sports result in injuries to athletes — and, in some cases, incidents of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Although SCA in athletes makes the headlines, it’s important to know that SCA can happen to anyone — including a seemingly healthy child.

Ryan Cliff was one of those children. His is a story of survival as he recovered from SCA with the help of University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital doctors. He and his parents share their difficult and emotional experience in Ryan’s video story about his experience of SCA while playing soccer.

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