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Sheri's Story
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Sheri is the last person her family or friends would have guessed would have heart disease.  Fit and trim at  4’11”, 105 lbs., Sheri lived a healthy lifestyle. She ate a healthy, low fat diet with no red meat, took vitamins, visited her doctor annually, and even taught  a "stroller workout class” three times a week.   In February, 2009, everything in Sheri’s world changed. In retrospect, she can identify signs of trouble before she sought medical attention.

While teaching an outdoor exercise class, she felt a constriction in her throat and lungs. She continued the class, but stopped running and only walked the rest of the class. The following day, she began sweating profusely just walking normally up a flight of stairs. At that point, she went to the urgent care; by the time she got there, she had begun vomiting. The on duty physician told her she most likely had a virus; she was prescribed a Z-pack, and told to come back that Monday for a referral to a lung specialist. 

That Monday, Sheri’s EKG was abnormal, so she was sent to ER. She was admitted to the hospital; while there, she underwent an echocardiogram and nuclear stress test. She couldn’t finish the stress test because of chest pains; however, the result was misread as normal and she was sent home.

Over the following week, Sheri continued having trouble breathing while walking up stairs. Knowing this was not right for her fitness level, she contacted her cardiologist, who scheduled a CT angiogram. The results showed at least 70% blockage a major artery. The next test results were even more alarming: a 99% blockage of the LAD, with occlusion too close to her heart for placement of a stent. She was told she needed bypass surgery.

Sheri’s surgery was initially a success; however, just a few hours post-op. she "crashed” and flat-lined. The thoracic surgeon opened my chest and began the surgery in the Cardiac-ICU room.  Her surgeon hand-massaged Sheri’s heart to keep her alive while the team prepared for her in OR. She crashed a second time, in the surgical suite, with her surgeon hand-massaging her heart while the team transferred to her a heart pump. After nearly six more hours of direct surgical intervention, Sheri’s heart was functional, the bleeding was controlled, and she was stable. 

Once she was on the road to recovery, she discovered that very high Lp(a) was the most likely cause of the blockage. Sheri’s Lp(a) had never been tested, even though she had annual cholesterol tests. Today, Sheri likes to share her story with others, to help educate everyone about the dangers of inherited cardiovascular disease. She believes if it happened to her, it can happen to anyone.

Last year, she had her two sons’ Lp(a) levels tested. One had elevated Lp(a). She feels knowing what you have hidden in your genetic make-up makes it possible to address problems before they become "events”.  They cross their fingers that a medication will be created that will permanently lower Lp(a) levels before he ends up with a heart event.


   


 

 

 

 

 

 

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809 Laurel Street #460
San Carlos, CA 94070
650/995.3242