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Heart Disease Patient Stories

Every day, our heart and vascular health care team makes a difference in the lives of our patients.

The stories below profile some of the patients who came to UPMC for heart and vascular care.

Note: These patients' treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

Scott M.: Heart and Kidney Disease

Scott M. — Heart and Kidney Disease

Scott started his career in radio broadcasting in Williamsport in the 1970s. While his job brought him tremendous opportunities, he was neglecting his own health which soon caught up to him.

Read Scott M.'s story

John Danchisko: Aortic Disease

John Danchisko and his wife at the beach during sunset.

After receiving treatment for two aneurysms at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, John’s care team recommended that he undergo genetic testing, leading to John's diagnosis of Marfan syndrome. The collaborative care model at the UPMC Center for Aortic Disease ensured that John received the full scope of care for his complex aortic condition – from vascular surgery to congenital heart care to cardiac surgery.

Read John Danchisko's story

Ann Sisley: Aortic Aneurysm and Aortic Dissection

Ann had surgery repairing an aortic aneurysm. Years later, she had surgery for an aortic dissection. She's thankful for the excellent care she received at UPMC.

In 2013, Ann had emergency surgery to repair a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Eight years later, she had emergency surgery for an aortic dissection. She's thankful for the excellent care she received over the years at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.

Read Ann Sisley's story

Averee: Cor triatriatum

7-year-old Averee was diagnosed with a rare condition called cor triatriatum, which accounts for less than 1% of all congenital heart problems. A thin membrane with a small hole had formed an extra chamber across her left atrium, which slowed down the blood flow from her lungs to her heart.  Learn about Averee’s journey.

When 7-year-old Averee was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart condition, cor triatriatum, specialists from Harrisburg and Pittsburgh teamed up to provide care.

Read Averee's story

Michael Perdriel: Heart Attack

"After suffering a heart attack, Michael was treated with a temporary heart assist device and through percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) at UPMC.

Read Michael Perdriel's story

​Annette Amendola: Coronary Microvascular Dysfunction

Annette Amendola - Coronary Microvascular Dysfunction Patient Story

Annette received the right diagnosis and treatment at UPMC, allowing her to attend her daughter’s wedding.

Read Annette Amendola's story

Tabby Baer: Cardiac Arrest Prevention

HVI patient Tabby Baer | Cardiac Arrest Treatment Patient

Tabby Baer has a family history of cardiac arrest and wanted to learn more about her own risk

Read Tabby Baer's story

Mariah Berczel: Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy

Mariah Berczel | UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute

Mariah suffered a sudden cardiac event while exercising at her local YMCA. She was rushed to UPMC Jameson and then UPMC Presbyterian, where she was diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). An implantable cardioverter device allowed Mariah to return to a life of re-prioritized passions.

Read Mariah Berczel's story

Kyle Conway: Aortic Root Aneurysm Patient Story

Image of patient.

Kyle Conway always knew he would need surgery to fix an aortic aneurysm. He turned to UPMC experts to safely remove the aneurysm.

Read Kyle Conway's story

Clyde Daubert: Heart Surgery

Clyde Daubert | UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute

Clyde Daubert had a cardiac catheterization revealing several arteries that led to heart surgery. Learn more about his experience at UPMC.

Read Clyde Daubert's story

Suzi Glass: Coronary Artery Dissection and Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Image of patient.

After being diagnosed with spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) and fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), Suzi Glass felt scared and uncertain. Here fears were eased by experts at the Magee-Womens Heart Program.

Read Suzi Glass's story

Paul Glover: Cardiac Arrest

Paul Glover with one of his UPMC McKeesport caretakers.

Paul walked into the Emergency Department at UPMC McKeesport with chest pain and quickly went into cardiac arrest. He was rushed to the cardiac catheterization lab, where he underwent a balloon angioplasty and stent placement.

Read Paul Glover's story

Dallas Hartman: Complex Aortic Dissection

Dallas Hartman | UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute

An attorney and self-proclaimed workaholic, Dallas Hartman understands now the importance of slowing down and of trusting your health care team. After facing grim cardiovascular diagnoses twice, he put his complete faith in his cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Tom Gleason. Two life-saving procedures later, Dallas is enjoying life with his family and achieving a greater work-life balance.

Read Dallas Hartman's story

Jim Hines: Coronary Artery Disease

Image of patient with family.

Jim received world-class treatment for multiple serious heart conditions at UPMC, and was able to return home and recover with him family.

Read Jim Hines's story

Jim Julian: Triple Bypass Surgery

Jim Julian

Jim Julian's blocked arteries and cardiac arrest led him to triple bypass surgery at UPMC Mercy.

Read Jim Julian's story

Ann Kemmerer: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

Ann and Bill Kemmerer

After being diagnosed with aortic stenosis, Ann’s doctor told her about a new minimally-invasive procedure still in clinical trial. She was intrigued…but it was her husband who would have the surgery first. Now, they’re both back to their passions and making long-distance travel plans.

Read Ann Kemmerer's story

Jeff Kratzenberg: Heart Attack and Cardiac Shock

Jeff went into cardiac shock after a heart attack. He underwent a transradial cardiac catheterization to open his blocked artery.

Read Jeff Kratzenberg's story

Bianca Labrador: Preeclampsia

Bianca has light brown wavy, shoulder length hair. It frames her face. She is smiling and has bright blue eyes.

Bianca was suffering the long-term effects of preeclampsia and turned to the experts at the Magee-Womens Heart Program to help.

Read Bianca Labrador's story

Mark Malecky: Coronary Artery Aneurysm

Mark Malecky

While hospitalized for an unrelated problem, UPMC doctors discovered a mass the size of a tennis ball on Mark’s heart.

Read Mark Malecky's story

Dennis Polega: Chronic Coronary Total Occlusion (CTO)

Dennis Polega - Chronic Coronary Total Occlusion Patient Story

Dennis thought he suffered a mild heart attack when he was diagnosed him with CTO. He underwent an angioplasty procedure.

Read Dennis Polega's story

Lynn Rutter: Preventing Heart Disease

Lynn Rutter - Heart Prevention Patient Story

Lynn, a smoker, decided to have a cardiologist screen for her risk of heart disease. She was given a personal plan that reversed her risk.

Read Lynn Rutter's story

Amanda Sanderson: Preeclampsia

Amanda Sanderson.

When Amanda Sanderson learned she was expecting her first child in 2013, she never expected to experience hypertension in pregnancy (also known as preeclampsia).

Read Amanda Sanderson's story

Tim Smith: Cardiac Catheterization

Tim Smith | UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute

Tim Smith had a cardiac catheterization after a heart attack. Learn more about his experience at UPMC.

Read Tim Smith's story

Euphemia Steffey: Triple Vessel Disease

HVI patient Euphemia Steffey | Heart Patient Story

Euphemia was diagnosed with triple vessel disease, a blockage of 3 main arteries. She underwent a catheterization procedure and still goes to cardiac rehab.

Read Euphemia Steffey's story

Jane Stine: Cardiac Bypass Surgery

Jane Stine | UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute

Jane Stine had two heart attacks, a torn iliac artery, and two blocked arteries. Learn more about her cardiac bypass surgery at UPMC.

Read Jane Stine's story

Matthew Valente: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Matthew Valente | UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute

Matthew was a healthy 18-year-old senior in high school when he suddenly collapsed at home one evening. Diagnosed with sudden cardiac arrest as a result of unknown hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), Matthew was treated at both UPMC Altoona and UPMC Presbyterian. Today, he is thriving in college, with hopes to pursue a career in the medical field.

Read Matthew Valente's story

Tim Valentine: Broken Heart Syndrome

Tim Valentine

Tim Valentine was at UPMC Altoona, where he received a life-saving heart procedure from George Jabbour, MD, to cure his broken heart syndrome, or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Now fully recovered, thanks to the Impella® pump, Tim is back to enjoying life with his wife.

Read Tim Valentine's story