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Health Information In My Own Words: "If You Hear Me, Squeeze My Hand!"

An interventional cardiologist fights to save his young patient's life.

Because many of the infants, children and adults he treats face life-threatening conditions and require multiple procedures over the course of their lifetimes, Ziyad M. Hijazi, MD, MPH, director of the Rush Center for Congenital and Structural Heart Disease, often forges close and lasting bonds with his patients and their families. For some, he even becomes a sort of honorary family member.

One such patient is 12-year-old Lauren, who has been cared for by Hijazi and the team at Rush since her first procedure to repair a heart valve defect shortly after she was born. Eleven years later, Lauren's life was once again in Hijazi’s hands when she went into cardiac arrest during a routine catheter placement. Hijazi recently shared this emotional experience on the Rush InPerson blog. The following is an excerpt from his blog post:

I’ve been taking care of Lauren all her life. She was born with a defective heart valve, and over the years she has had multiple surgeries to implant artificial valves as she’s grown. In August 2012, we implanted a new artificial valve without open heart surgery to replace one of the previously implanted valves that had stopped working properly. But shortly after she had the procedure and returned home, her leg became extremely swollen due to blood clots. She was brought back to Rush and taken to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, where a catheter was inserted into her leg to deliver tPA (tissue plasmogen activator) to dissolve the clots. I was not doing the procedure, but because she was my patient and I was concerned about her, I watched from the control room.

Suddenly, in the middle of the procedure, she became hypotensive and went into full-blown cardiac arrest …

Find out what happened next by reading the rest of Hijazi's post on the Rush InPerson blog.

You Might Also Like …

  • Join physicians from Rush on Saturday, Feb. 23, for a free comprehensive program about caring for your heart. Learn about risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, conditions including arrhythmias, heart failure and vascular disease, and the latest available treatment options. Register online or call (888) 352-RUSH (7874).
  • Read this Rush InPerson blog post by Ziyad M. Hijazi, MD, MPH, about another patient who has inspired him.
  • T.C. and Jennifer Coover's son, Tanner, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and received treatment at the Rush Center for Congenital andStructural Heart Disease. Read the Coover’s heartwarming story about their resilient son.
  • Looking for a doctor? Call toll free: (888) 352-RUSH (7874).
  • Stay in touch with Rush with Rush News Blog, Rush InPerson, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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February 2013 

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