I chose Bronson because of the experience they have. I was nervous to have heart surgery, but they explained everything to me and made me feel very comfortable.
Marilyn, 76, from Coloma, was shoveling snow outside her house one winter day when she began experiencing pain in her chest and her back. Marilyn didn’t think much of the pain so she took a break for a few minutes and started up again hoping to finish the job. She eventually grew too tired to shovel anymore and went inside to take some aspirin. After a few days had passed and the pain still had not subsided, Marilyn knew that she needed additional help. She went to see her primary care provider, Gretchen Leffler, PA-C, of Bronson Family Practice Oshtemo. Leffler quickly realized additional testing was needed and consulted with Bart Lewis, DO. They performed a variety of tests and concluded she needed a CAT scan to check her heart and largest blood vessel called aorta.
“They told me I needed a CAT scan as soon as possible and that they weren’t trying to scare me, but it was a matter of life or death,” Marilyn recalled.
The scan showed that Marilyn was suffering from enlargement of the aorta in the chest, one near the heart and the other in the back. These enlargements, called aneurysms, are especially dangerous because if they burst a person can die instantly. This meant Marilyn needed two different surgeries, one done with specialized catheters, called endovascular aortic replacement, and the other being open heart surgery.
Uneasy and uncertain, Marilyn and her daughter wanted to make sure that she was going to receive high quality care from the best doctors possible. After doing a fair amount of research, Marilyn’s daughter decided that the doctors at Bronson were the best people to do the job.
“My daughter told me that Dr. DeLucia has performed hundreds of open heart operations including complex ones like this and has a very high success rate,” Marilyn explained. “I knew that they were the most experienced and had heard from many people that they were very good doctors.”
Dr. Vaddineni, who performed the endovascular procedure, and Dr. DeLucia met to plan the procedures in detail. More importantly, he and Dr. DeLucia both sat down with Marilyn and put her at ease, answering all of her questions.
The surgeries were successful in repairing the aneurysms and left minimal scarring. Once Marilyn completed physical therapy, she was ready to get back to her life.
“I look and feel good,” Marilyn shared. “I didn’t have as much pain as I thought I would. I believe this is because of the great care I received at Bronson.”
Since her surgery, Marilyn has learned a lot about herself. She has learned to keep her blood pressure down and is maintaining a low sodium diet and staying active. Marilyn explains that her heart surgery has changed her outlook on life. “I have taken on a different outlook on life,” Marilyn says. “I learned that I need to let go of the small things, have an open mind and a positive attitude. These changes have made a big difference in my life.”
Although she has to be careful while she continues to heal, she is back to doing the things she loves. Marilyn enjoys spending time with her friends and mom, as well as traveling. Since the surgeries went so well and she is now healthy, Marilyn knows she’ll be able to travel for many years to come.
“This was only my second surgery at Bronson, and even though I live in Coloma, I plan to come to Bronson for all of my surgeries in the future,” Marilyn says. “Thanks to Dr. DeLucia and Dr. Vaddineni, now I’m up and at ‘em!”
To learn more about what makes us one of Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Vascular Surgery™ in 2016, click here.