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

Breathing easier after groundbreaking lung transplant

Kyle Clark is first in state to receive lungs optimized in a special incubator

lung transplant

Kyle Clark after lung transplant

Nearly two months after receiving a new set of lungs, “I’m not sore!” is the first thing Kyle Clark, 25, of Imlay City likes to share about his near-miraculous lung transplant experience at the University of Michigan Health System. Kyle was born with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that floods the body with mucus, which builds up and reduces the ability of organs like the lungs to do their job.

Over the years, cystic fibrosis slowly damaged Kyle’s lungs, interfering with his college education, job and one of his favorite pastimes, hunting. By 2014 Kyle needed oxygen round the clock and reluctantly gave up most of the activities he loved. Breathing became a daily struggle, and Kyle was even admitted to UMHS at one point in critical condition, though he recovered enough to go home.

A medical device new to the market saved Kyle’s life. On Feb. Continue reading

Be a hero, sign up as an organ donor

Donate Life month a great time to make life-saving donation routine

As a transplant surgeon for both kids and adults, I spend my days and nights waiting for the call that a precious, life-saving organ is available for one of our desperate patients — a call that doesn’t come nearly often enough. But I have faith that one day signing up as an organ donor will be as normal and routine as wearing a seat belt, a bike helmet or putting on sunscreen.63205_10151310087771566_622603263_nblog

Every day 17 people across the country die waiting for an organ. There are 123,253 souls currently on the wait list who hope, pray, beg or bargain for someone to be their hero. At the same time, an untold number of people took their organs with them when they died instead of leaving them to live on in someone else.

It’s not only a loss for the patients waiting for organs, but a missed opportunity for family and friends of organ donors to experience the comfort and pride that comes from knowing their loved one saved a life or many lives – leaving this world as a hero.

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For George Magulak, an agonizing wait for a liver transplant

April is Donate Life Month

liver transplant

George Magulak

George Magulak isn’t feeling as well today as he did last August when he was featured in the latest “Wolverines for Life” video promoting organ donation. The Oakland County dentist was diagnosed twelve years ago with primary biliary cirrhosis, an autoimmune disease that has progressed to near-liver failure. Since there aren’t enough available livers for everyone needing a transplant, George is in the heartbreaking position of knowing he needs to be clearly in danger of dying in order to move to the top of the waiting list.

“It’s been a challenge lately. I’m noticeably weaker, less steady on my feet and things are getting worse,” he says. George was Continue reading

Donating Organs, Bone Marrow Is Giving the Gift of Life

February 14th is recognized across the country as National Donor Day. The nationwide event focuses on five types of donation:

Annette Schork, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

Annette Schork, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

  • organs
  • tissues
  • marrow
  • platelets
  • blood

Organs can be placed locally, regionally and nationally. In the United States, 116,818 people are waiting for an organ. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s website  provides information on how to become a donor.

For people with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, a bone marrow transplant is a possible cure. First, patients undergo chemotherapy and sometimes radiation to destroy their diseased marrow. Then a donor’s healthy blood-forming cells are given directly into the patient’s bloodstream, where they can begin to function and multiply.

For a patient’s body to accept these healthy cells, the patient needs a donor who is a close match. Some 70% of patients do not have a donor in their family. The Be the Match Registry helps find unrelated bone marrow donors or umbilical cord blood. Doctors around the world search the registry to find a match for their patients. Continue reading