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Patient Stories

  • Marla Levy

    "Miracle Patient" Receives the Gift Of Life

    ADCT Photo Marla Levy With Dr Merrick
    My name is Marla Levy and I owe my life to Dr. Scot Merrick, Chief of Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery at UCSF. My story begins in Southern California when I was 21 and diagnosed with a congenital heart defect: supravalvular aortic stenosis or SVAS. SVAS develops before birth and causes narrowing of the aorta, the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. At age 27, I had my first open heart surgery. My aorta was replaced with a human valve, and when doctors couldn’t get my heart to start after the procedure, I received an emergency right coronary bypass.[...]
    Story Tags: Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)Heart Valve DiseaseSupravalvular Aortic Stenosis
  • Ken Byk

    An Unexpected Journey After Crossing the Finish Line

    Ken Byk.jpg
    I had just crossed the finish line at Bay to Breakers, a 12 kilometer footrace that takes place in San Francisco each spring, when I suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed on the ground. Luckily for me, of the 10,000 race participants, the one that rushed to my aid was an anesthesiologist who performed CPR for 20 minutes before restoring my pulse. I was taken by ambulance to the University of California, San Francisco, where I had a second cardiac arrest and was again resuscitated. I later learned that I had severe coronary artery disease. There were two 90% blockages in my arteries,[...]
    Story Tags: Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
  • Dwayne Teach

    I Feel Incredibly Lucky to Be Alive

    Dwayne Teach Pic2.jpg
    My name is Dwayne Teach and I feel incredibly lucky to be alive to share my story with you today. I had a massive pulmonary embolism in 2007 followed by a gastric bypass in 2009.  Three years ago I received a new heart and could not be more grateful for the care delivered by the University of California, San Francisco. In the matter of a week, my entire life changed. It all began with flu-like symptoms on a Monday. I was feeling much worse by Thursday so I decided to go to the hospital. After checking in at my local hospital in Fortuna I was transferred to a larger institution in Eureka. On[...]
    Story Tags: Heart Transplant
  • Suitulaga "Sugi" Hunkin

    Heart Failure Patient Loses 100 Pounds Before Transplant Surgery

    UCSF News reports on the use of a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) as a bridge to a heart transplant allowing a patient to lose the weight needed to undergo the procedure: Suitulaga "Sugi" Hunkin has been overweight most of his life. He attributes that to his love of food and his Samoan ancestry.  Because of his size, he also had trouble breathing and experienced irregular heartbeat - symptoms his doctors diagnosed as heart disease called cardiomyopathy, which usually leads to heart failure... He needed heart transplantation surgery to replace his failing heart, but before that could[...]
    Story Tags: Heart FailureVentricular Assist Device (VAD)
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