A Complete Recovery for a Young Mother’s Heart
As a mother of two, Cecy Wells, 30, manages various health conditions, including Type 1 diabetes and Addison’s disease, a disorder in which the adrenal glands are unable to produce sufficient hormones. Since her first pregnancy was complicated, Cecy and Andy decided to adopt their second child. A year later, Cecy learned she was pregnant with their third child.
Cecy experienced a challenging pregnancy and at 32 weeks, her water broke. Her husband Andy brought Cecy to the Ogden Regional Medical Center in Ogden, UT and she was admitted for a C-section.
The delivery went smoothly and without complications. Cecy and Andy welcomed Kennedy Wells to the world. However, two days following the delivery, Cecy began to feel chest pain and shortness of breath. As her symptoms intensified, she expressed concern to her team of nurses and her physician decided to perform additional testing.
Cecy’s breathing continued to deteriorate and she began to panic. Testing revealed that Cecy’s heart was severely weak. This ultimately led the team to believe that there may be a possibility of post-partum cardiomyopathy, an uncommon form of heart failure that usually happens during the last month of pregnancy or up to five months after giving birth, was anticipated. They rushed Cecy back to her room for immediate care. Cecy’s heart was failing and she was in cardiogenic shock, a life-threatening condition in which the heart is suddenly unable to pump enough blood and oxygen to support the body’s vital organs.
Once in the catheterization lab, Dr. Julia Ansari, interventional cardiologist and director of the catheterization lab, knew the Impella® heart pump would be needed to support Cecy’s weak heart. She inserted the Impella CP® heart pump. The cardiology team then ran a diagnostic angiogram to identify why her heart had weakened. To their surprise, Cecy did not have post-partum cardiomyopathy but instead, she had significant blockages in every main artery of her heart. Fortunately, with the support of the Impella heart pump, Dr. Ansari placed stents and restored blood flow to Cecy’s heart without surgery.
“You don’t think a young woman is going to have a heart attack, but you need to know there is that possibility. I don’t feel like somebody who had a heart attack. Everybody needs to do research and to know what the signs and symptoms are.”
Following the procedure, Cecy was transferred to the ICU to be monitored. After two days, Cecy’s heart recovered, the Impella heart pump was removed and Cecy no longer had any symptoms of heart failure. Her ejection fraction, which measures the contraction strength of the main heart pumping chamber, had recovered from approximately 25% to 60% (55-70% is normal). Cecy was discharged three days later. She completed cardiac rehab and returned to her busy routine as a mother of three.