Patient Story

Mary Hanel's Journey to Heart Recovery


My name is Mary Hanel and I live in Dingmans Ferry, PA, with my husband, Richard. I suffered my first heart attack on Thanksgiving Day in 1984. My medical team didn’t believe I was suffering a heart attack because I was only 46. At that time, it was thought that women my age didn’t have heart attacks.

As it turned out, I was having a severe heart attack. I was in bad shape. Both my left and right main arteries were 98% blocked, which required coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. The surgery was very painful with a long recovery. I ultimately recovered and did well, but over the years I still had occasional problems.

In 2017, every time my husband and I went out walking or vacationing, I often had to stop due to shortness of breath. I always felt like a wet blanket. When I began experiencing pressure on my chest and pain in my arm, I scheduled an appointment with my cardiologist, Dr. Yaron Bareket, at Hackensack Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ. I thought I had passed the stress test with flying colors until I received a call from Dr. Bareket asking me to return the following day. He confirmed I had multiple blockages but told me I was too high-risk for another surgery.

Dr. Bareket referred me to Dr. Adam Raskin who explained that I had a severe blockage and recommended a coronary rotablation. It sounded like a plumbing job to me. Because this was a high-risk procedure, Dr. Raskin explained he would use the Impella® heart pump to temporarily support my heart. He called it a Protected PCI with Impella. I said, “This could change my life, let’s do it!” I went in the next morning feeling nervous. But once I was in the catheterization lab, I realized there was no pain involved in the procedure. It’s not like bypass when you come out feeling like your body was run over by a truck. Following the procedure, I felt great and I was able to return home to my husband the next day.

Since my procedure, I have had the best years of my life. I can now walk 3 ½ miles around the lake near my home. I go to an exercise class three times a week and now my husband tries to keep up with me! My doctor calls me Wonder Woman, but it was my doctor and the Impella that made me Wonder Woman.

Learn more about Impella® heart pumps