Jayne: “Life is grand.”
She was the picture of health. But little did Jayne, 44, know that a silent defect lay within her heart.
It was a brisk fall morning three years ago when Jayne went out for her regular run. She woke up two weeks later in the U-M hospital, to learn that she had had a heart attack — and that her blood was now being pumped with the help of an implanted heart-assisting device called a left ventricular assistance device or LVAD.
Her neighbors had found her collapsed on the sidewalk and called 911. She was taken to one nearby hospital, then another, but neither could help her. Finally, she was transferred to U-M on a Survival Flight helicopter.
The source of her problem? A rare heart defect that had gone undetected for more than 40 years, despite regular physicals and even EKGs.
Fortunately, she had reached a hospital that could support her failing heart with advanced technology. Through its Center for Circulatory Support, the U-M Cardiovascular Center offers adults and children a dozen different options to meet the needs of nearly every patient. But even as she absorbed the full importance of what had happened to her, Jayne’s doctors told her another incredible piece of news: She would need a heart transplant.
As she grew strong enough to leave the hospital with her LVAD in place, Jayne knew it might be months or even years till she received a heart. But her confidence in the U-M heart transplant team lifted her spirits. And just a few weeks later, a match came through. Just days after her heart transplant operation on December 6, 2004, she went home to celebrate the holidays with her husband and three children.
Today, Jayne says, “Life is grand!” She has expressed her gratitude by speaking to groups of U-M Cardiovascular Center staff about her experience, and about how they can make each patient’s experience better.But in the end, she says, “I'm the same person I was before all of this happened. I just have more medicines to take.”