After suffering a massive heart attack that severely damaged her heart at the age of 29, Heather Hooper was told she would likely have to live with a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) inside her heart to keep her alive. Her hard work proved them wrong.
With an LVAD in place, Hooper started cardiac rehab, where she grueled through exercises that helped strengthen her heart. In the same year as her heart attack, doctors said Hooper became part of the 1% of LVAD patients in country who get the device removed.
“I would say this is a pretty lucky story,” said STS member Dr. Aldo Rafael from Baylor Scott & White.
Dr. Rafael had to custom build a plug that filled the giant hole left behind in Hooper’s heart after the LVAD was removed.