|PHOTO: PATTY O'MARA-CROFT OF
OSWEGO, WITH HUSBAND BRIAN. PATTY
DEVELOPED HEART FAILURE AFTER A
MAJOR HEART ATTACK AT THE AGE OF 43.
Patty O'Mara-Croft of Oswego developed heart failure after a major heart attack eight years ago at the age of 43. The extreme fatigue and other symptoms made it increasingly difficult to keep up with the demands of her teaching career and family of seven.
In the years prior to seeing heart failure and transplant specialist Maria Rosa Costanzo, MD, of Edward Heart Hospital and Midwest Heart-Advocate Medical Group, O'Mara-Croft had been through an arduous course of treatment, which included angioplasty with stents, implantation of an ICD (pacemaker-defibrillator), IV inotrope treatment to reduce her heart's workload, multiple hospitalizations and numerous heart medications.
When Dr. Costanzo saw O'Mara-Croft in 2006 she was still quite ill and the doctor admitted her to a transplant hospital to determine if she was a candidate for the surgery. Unfortunately, tests showed a high level of antibodies that meant her body would reject most any transplant.
Dr. Costanzo adjusted O'Mara-Croft's medication, including weaning her off the inotrope as she unexpectedly started to feel better. Because heart failure is a progressive condition, however, she still would be vulnerable to future episodes of debilitating symptoms.
Dr. Costanzo thought it was time to look at another treatment option that was being evaluated in a clinical trial at Edward -- surgery to insert an elastic netting around the enlarged heart to keep it from further expansion. O'Mara-Croft was accepted to the trial, and she had the device inserted in June 2009.
Today Dr. Costanzo continues to monitor O'Mara-Croft's medications and how her heart is functioning. The now 51-year-old teacher is back at work, and she and her husband Brian do regular work-outs together at their gym. Find more about Patty's story, including information about her recently released memoir, Pulse of My Heart, at www.pulseofmyheart.net/.