Main content

    Patient Stories
    Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute


    Ethan -

    Ethan - Never Give Up

    Born with a heart defect, Heather knew there was a chance that the baby she was carrying was at a higher risk for also having a congenital heart condition. When she was 23 weeks pregnant, she had a level 2 ultrasound with one of Sutter’s perinatologists and it was then that the doctor suggested they have Stanley Wright, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist, review the imaging. Dr. Wright let Heather know that her fetus showed characteristics that indicated a heart condition, but that they would have to follow-up a few weeks later when they could see more to provide a diagnosis. 
    Continue reading about Ethan (296)...

    Lachlan -

    Lachlan - Little Guy, Big Heart

    As with most new parents, Ian and Jennifer were overjoyed with the arrival of their first born, a son named Lachlan.  And as they prepared for their two week check up with their pediatrician they were prepared to talk about Lachlan’s feeding and sleeping schedule – and not as prepared to hear that their baby had a heart mummer.
    Continue reading about Lachlan (283)...

    Roger -

    Roger - Living Life to its Fullest Thanks to Modern Technology

    As an electronic engineer by profession, Roger spent decades of his life designing circuits and fixing systems. But one connector he couldn’t fix was the flow to his heart.
    Continue reading about Roger (282)...

    Carol -

    Carol - New Hope for Limb Salvage

    Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 2 years old, Carol has spent her life managing her diet, monitoring her blood sugar, and dealing with complications of her disease.
    Continue reading about Carol (281)...

    Jimmy Jo and Kirk -

    Jimmy Jo and Kirk - Taking on Atrial Fibrillation as a Team

    “I felt like I had just run a marathon…all the time,” says Jimmy Jo, describing the effects of persistent atrial fibrillation.
    Continue reading about Jimmy Jo and Kirk (274)...

    Gary and Priscilla -

    Gary and Priscilla - Sharing the Journey Through Life-Threatening Atrial Fib

    Medication therapy was unable to control the symptoms of Gary’s atrial fibrillation and had put him in the hospital more than four times over a six month period.  But Gary’s luck brought him to Sutter where he was able to have a life saving cryoablation procedure.
    Continue reading about Gary and Priscilla (273)...

    Michael -

    Michael - Atrial Fibrillation No Longer Slows Him Down

    Michael lived years coping with the symptoms of atrial fibrillation.  Slowly the condition was taking its toll on his body and Michael found himself unable to do the things he enjoyed.  It wasn’t until he was referred to Sutter that his life began to turn around.
    Continue reading about Michael (272)...

    La Vonne -

    La Vonne - A lucky one, after all

    A former employer dubbed La Vonne “lucky one” in Chinese after she helped turn around his struggling business. But there have been times La Vonne wondered if the name fit.
    Continue reading about La Vonne (271)...

    Hadi -

    Hadi - Playing the hand nature dealtand winning

    Every family passes along distinctive traits—green eyes, curly hair, a particular shape of nose. In Hadi’s family, one of those traits is heart disease severe enough to cause heart attacks at early ages.
    Continue reading about Hadi (267)...

    Hazel -

    Hazel - Cruising Along Thanks to New Procedure

    Hazel wasn’t able to do the things she loved because of aortic stenosis, until a new minimally invasive procedure known as the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement changed her life.
    Continue reading about Hazel (266)...

    Coralia -

    Coralia - Back to Being a Mom

    Coralia was a healthy happily married 34 year old woman with 3 beautiful children with no idea her life was going to make a dramatic turn for the worse.
    Continue reading about Coralia (261)...

    Jean -

    Jean - New Device Offers Piece-of-Mind

    Jean has always considered herself pretty lucky.  Having had bypass surgery  at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento more than 19 years ago and never having another cardiac incident since is considered a medical phenomenon.
    Continue reading about Jean (260)...

    Nicholas -

    Nicholas - Born with a Heart Defect - Now Brings Hope

    If you were to watch 19-year-old Nick shoot hoops with his friends or play golf on his collegiate team, you would see the picture of health.  But underneath his golf polo is a scar on his chest – a little reminder of all he has overcome to be the athlete, son, brother and student he is today.
    Continue reading about Nicholas (244)...

    Laura -

    Laura - Nothing Textbook About It

    “It started in March. I had just finished teaching at my daughter’s school and was walking to my car when my heart started to hurt. It was very intense and in about two minutes it was gone,” Laura said.
    Continue reading about Laura (243)...

    Tony -

    Tony - Heart Failure Doesnt Mean Your Life is Over

    About 10 years ago Tony had his first episode. He and his wife, Mary, were at their church’s crab feed enjoying the good food and company when he collapsed.
    Continue reading about Tony (115)...

    Donald -

    Donald - Goes Home With New Heart

    For many people Valentine’s Day is a holiday filled with love, romance and affection. It’s a time for meaningful cards, flowers and sentimental gifts. But this year, one Sacramento Valentine received a gift like no other. He received the gift of life – a new heart.
    Continue reading about Donald (117)...

    Chase -

    Chase - All-Star Athlete despite Heart Surgery at Birth

    Chase was diagnosed with transposition of the great vessels, a congenital heart defect in which the two major vessels that carry blood away from the heart -- the aorta and the pulmonary artery -- are switched.
    Continue reading about Chase (17)...

    Chris -

    Chris - Managing Stress and Keeping her Heart Healthy

    Chris felt fine. Sometimes she would get short of breath when walking to her car, but after she sat in her car for a few minutes her chest would open up and she would feel normal again.
    Continue reading about Chris (119)...

    Carrie -

    Carrie - He Saved My Life

    According to the American Heart Association, it's estimated that more than 95 percent of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital. That's a statistic Carrie Paschal is lucky not to be a part of.
    Continue reading about Carrie (121)...

    Alex -

    Alex - Heart Surgery Keeps Her Healthy

    Roxana and Brian were devastated to learn that their daughter, Alexandra, has a congenital heart defect. "We found out right after she was born. She was diagnosed with Ebstein's anomaly – an extremely rare heart condition," says Roxana. "The good news is that it is manageable. The bad news is that Alex may need heart surgery every several years in order to lead a normal life."
    Continue reading about Alex (20)...

    Susan -

    Susan - New Heart, New Life

    Susan has been on the cusp of modern medicine her whole life. Having been born with a heart defect, she is no stranger to heart conditions.
    Continue reading about Susan (122)...

    Jill -

    Jill - Heart Transplant Patient Builds Her Own Family After Triumphing Over Condition

    When Jill was born in 1973, she had blue baby syndrome. Her parents would later learn that she was born with a severe heart defect and was missing both an atrium and a ventricle.
    Continue reading about Jill (21)...

    Knowland -

    Knowland - Beating the Odds with his Sutter Team of Specialists

    "Poor Knowland's had it rough. He was born with a heart murmur and has struggled with a learning disability for his entire life. Several years ago he needed to have valve replacement surgery and had an artificial valve put in his heart.
    Continue reading about Knowland (124)...

    Tyler -

    Tyler - From football to heart surgery and back again

    When the nurse at urgent care told Terri that her son had a cardiac abnormality, she didn't believe it. After all, Tyler was the picture of health – an active high school senior and quarterback of the football team. Earlier that day, Tyler told his parents that he was having heart palpitations at practice. To be on the safe side, Terri and her husband took Tyler to an urgent care center where they ran tests that revealed a heart problem. Terri then took Tyler to a different medical provider for a second opinion. There, they confirmed a heart abnormality and insisted Tyler go to the local hospital for treatment.
    Continue reading about Tyler (25)...

    Candy -

    Candy - Tired of Sedentary Life

    Candy was a healthy, active middle-aged woman until a heart condition slowed her down a few years ago. She began experiencing episodes of shortness of breath, chest pain and dizziness and was soon diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.
    Continue reading about Candy (126)...

    Howard -

    Howard - Heart Attacks and No Heart Damage

    Howard is no stranger to health issues. Having had three heart procedures, his colon and gall bladder removed, and even kidney stones, he knows a little bit about living with health conditions.
    Continue reading about Howard (128)...

    Dorothy -

    Dorothy - A Heart-Felt Partnership

    One look at Dorothy Britt's broad smile and twinkling eyes, and you can tell that this is a woman who truly loves life. The mother of three sons and two daughters, Dorothy dealt with the tragic loss of one of her daughters in adulthood. Yet this vivacious 80-year old has the kind of positive outlook on life that easily rubs off on everyone around her. Given her infectious enthusiasm, you wouldn't know that she struggles with heart failure.
    Continue reading about Dorothy (130)...

    John -

    John - Maximizing Life with Help from Sutter's Heart Failure Clinic

    When Diane talks about her beloved father, John, her admiration is evident. “He loved life, and anyone who met him could see that,” she says. “His last years were nearly as enriched as his earlier ones, thanks to the team at Sutter’s Heart Failure Clinic.”
    Continue reading about John (132)...

    Dr. Farrell -

    Dr. Farrell - Patient Says Healing Process Includes Thanking those Who Helped Save Him

    By trade, Dr. Farrell is a physical therapist who has helped countless patients for more than 30 years. However, he never envisioned himself on the flip side, but that was exactly what happened the following year when he suffered cardiac arrest while at a friend's home in Rocklin.
    Continue reading about Dr. Farrell (134)...

    Bob -

    Bob - A Match he Wont Forget

    One Saturday morning while playing an aggressive match of tennis with a few friends, Bob did something out of the ordinary: He bent down to pick up the ball ... when he stood up, a wave of dizziness hit him like a ton of bricks.
    Continue reading about Bob (136)...

    John -

    John - From Doctor to Patient

    A retired orthopedic surgeon, John remembers helping his daughter study anatomy when she was in nursing school. Today, his daughter, Stephanie Baroni, is a cardiac nurse - a career choice that played a hand in saving her dad's life.
    Continue reading about John (138)...

    Jackson -

    Jackson - Overcoming Severe Illness with the Help of the Heart Failure Clinic

    After battling cardiac issues for years, Jackson was referred to Sutter Heart & Vascular's Heart Failure Clinic in 2003. "It was nice to go there, they gave me a lot of attention," he says. "They helped me manage my heart condition and took very good care of me."
    Continue reading about Jackson (140)...

    Larry -

    Larry - Breakthrough Technology Saved my Life

    Unlike most heart attack patients, Larry, an attorney/arbitrator, had no symptoms leading up to his massive heart attacks last December.
    Continue reading about Larry (144)...

    Kenneth -

    Kenneth - Less Invasive Surgery Synchronizes a Heart and Restarts a Life

    “Bring it on,” said Kenneth, a recently retired 62-year old who swims for 50 minutes several times a week.  While that fitness level may be uncommon for men Kenneth’s age, it’s especially surprising for a man who had to rest after climbing a flight of stairs not long ago. 
    Continue reading about Kenneth (146)...

    Donna -

    Donna - Open heart surgery after stroke and heart tumor

    The first sign that something was wrong with Donna happened after one of her marathons.  “I felt unusually sick,” she said.  “I’m always tired after marathons, but this was different.” Since she has been healthy and extremely fit her entire life, 44-year old Donna dismissed her feelings as an isolated reaction. 
    Continue reading about Donna (148)...

    Polly -

    Polly - Finally Beating Atrial Fib

    When Polly was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation her early sixties, she was shocked.  "I was pretty healthy; at least I thought I was.  I used to be a runner and was still physically active.  My family, my job, and my life kept me busy and happy.  I was very surprised when a physical exam showed I had a heart condition".
    Continue reading about Polly (150)...

    Frank -

    Frank - You never think you'll be the one to have a heart attack

    The day Frank had a heart attack was an ordinary day just like any other. The retired deli-liquor store owner woke up, showered and shaved, made a few phone calls, then did a few minor chores around the house. By 11 a.m. he noticed an odd feeling in his chest. The feeling wasn't painful, rather light and fluttery.
    Continue reading about Frank (152)...

    Betty & Jim -

    Betty & Jim - A Testament to True Heart Care

    Rodgers and Hammerstein's hit musical Annie Get Your Gun has been a popular production for theatre companies since it first played on Broadway in 1946. It's no wonder that Sacramento residents Betty and Jim Saggs were excited when they saw the production listed at their local community center. So excited, that Betty wasn't going to let a little shortness of breath and a slight pain in her neck keep her from seeing the show.
    Continue reading about Betty & Jim (154)...

    Emilie -

    Emilie - Smallest baby in the world to undergo a balloon pulmonary valvuloplasty

    Born three months premature and weighing only one pound, 15 ounces, Allison fought for her life in the Special Care Nursery. Weighing a mere one pound, seven ounces, Emilie had been born with critical pulmonary valve stenosis.
    Continue reading about Emilie (30)...

    Linda -

    Linda - Healthy Heart, Happy Life

    Since her twenties, Linda felt like she had the word "smoker" tattooed on her forehead whenever she'd see a doctor.  Her symptoms – shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue – were always chalked up to her smoking habit.  "Of course, I knew that my smoking contributed to my symptoms.
    Continue reading about Linda (156)...

    Mark -

    Mark - New Doctors, Better Life

    Five years ago, things were not looking good for Mark. The then 73-year-old was connected to an oxygen tank and ran out of breath by doing simple things like crossing the room. As a formerly active person, Mark was getting frustrated living with his congestive heart failure.
    Continue reading about Mark (158)...

    Bruce -

    Bruce - Tiny Device, Big Change

    "Interesting," said Bruce. That was the only word he could come up with as he reclined in the cath lab and watched the screen that showed his heart being poked with a device while the doctor repaired two damaged vessels.
    Continue reading about Bruce (161)...

    Steve -

    Steve - Heart Transplant & Just in Time

    Steve was out of breath and tired...a lot. He knew his heart failure was like a ticking time bomb. "We knew it may happen eventually," said Steve, 50, who finally landed in the intensive care unit after collapsing at home. Gravely ill, and knowing it was the only option to save his life, Steve got on the list for a heart transplant.
    Continue reading about Steve (160)...