In 1999, Margaret Fiore Lizardi was in her mid-50s with a high-powered job—Director of Administration for a New York law firm. Her doctors discovered a calcification of the aortic valve that may have resulted from a childhood bout of rheumatic fever.
Surgeons replaced Margaret's valve and later gave her a pacemaker. But in 2005, she was diagnosed with stenosis of the aorta and her symptoms were so severe she could no longer work.
After consulting with specialists all over the country, Margaret finally met with Drs. Mehmet Oz, Donna Mancini and others at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. Their verdict: in a few years' time, she would need an LVAD and then a donor heart.
A pilot for Pan AM and United Airlines, Richard Stowe took a leave of absence in 1999 to have surgery on his knee. While he was recovering, his physicians discovered an arrhythmia and later, performed an ablation procedure to correct the arrhythmia.
In 2000, Richard had bypass surgery followed by mitral valve repair. Months later he required an ICD-an implantable cardioverter defibrillator-to regulate his heartbeat.
As the years went by, his heart kept getting larger and in 2006, his cardiologist referred him to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, where his cardiologist explained that he would benefit from an LVAD.
A tall, rugged twenty-year old at Rutgers University, Joe Deen spent a lot of time outdoors, hiking, backpacking and working at a Boy Scout camp. In 2006, he developed brachycardia, an unusually slow heartbeat, that doctors linked to Lyme disease. But when the tests for Lyme were inconclusive and the problem persisted, Joe received a pacemaker.
One year later, he was diagnosed with heart block and learned that he was in the early stages of congestive heart failure.
In 2009, just months after his graduation, Joe's heart wasn't pumping enough blood so Dr. Yoshifumi Naka performed an emergency LVAD surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia.