My OHSU Heart Story - by Susan

Susan's StoryWhen I was born, I had Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart condition. I had two heart surgeries, one when I was two months old and then open heart surgery when I was 14. When I moved from Alaska to Oregon, I needed to find a cardiologist. My doctor in Alaska was trained at OHSU, and so I knew it was a good place to go. 

When I met the team that included Dr. Craig Broberg, it went fabulously. They were very friendly, and had read my records and history. I found them knowledgeable, professional and excited about working with me. 

Though they monitored me closely, I knew I would have to have my heart valve replaced eventually.  Six years after I moved here, I needed to have my valve replaced. The Melody valve replacement was a non-invasive option.  I was nervous. It took me two weeks to decide whether or not to go with the Melody valve replacement, or to have the open heart surgery. I spent two weeks researching the Melody valve, getting my family's advice and talking to Dr. Burch about the procedure. I appreciated Dr. Burch's patience: He answered all my questions and didn't rush me through anything. 

When I had the Melody procedure done, I was in the hospital just one day. I'd been really tired and sluggish before I went in, and when I woke up, I was full of energy. It was like night and day: I felt amazing, like I could run a marathon. Recovery time was a week, as compared to 3-6 months for open heart surgery. If you are looking to consider this as an option, I would recommend it.

The whole staff was wonderful. For me, the worst part of any surgery is to have an IV put in—but they're really, really good at it. They seem to totally enjoy being there and helping people. All the nurses and staff were sweet and funny. They and Dr. Broberg had great senses of humor. That was important to me. 

It's been several months, and I feel great. I go to the gym 3-5 times a week and spend 30-60 minutes, sometimes more, on the treadmill. I have so much energy now and I feel fabulous!


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