The fatigue was so severe; I could not clean the house, play with my grandchildren or do anything I enjoy. I became so desperate, I just asked God to take me home.

Rowland’s doctors had treated her condition with medication and a pacemaker to control the irregular heartbeat, but there was no improvement. “Basically, the doctors just told me there was nothing more they could do, and that I likely wouldn’t survive any surgical or interventional treatment,” said Rowland.

A friend encouraged Rowland to consult with Dr. Sreekumar Subramanian, cardiothoracic surgeon at TriStar Centennial Medical Center. “I’m not sure I even had an appointment when I first met with him,” said Rowland. “We actually caught him in the waiting room as he was finishing his day, and he spent more than thirty minutes listening to my concerns.” According to Rowland, Dr. Subramanian told her he believed he could help and immediately scheduled an arteriogram to determine how to repair her heart

Rowland was diagnosed with an uncommon condition called myocardial coronary bridge. According to Dr. Subramanian, the condition is difficult to diagnose; in most cases, the bridge does not cause any symptoms and patients are often unaware of the condition.

“Basically, a myocardial bridge is a band of heart muscle that lies on top of a coronary artery, instead of underneath it. With a myocardial bridge, part of a coronary artery dips into and underneath the heart muscle and then comes back out again,” said Dr. Subramanian. “In most cases, the condition is harmless, but some patients can develop myocardial ischemia, which means the heart muscle is not getting enough oxygen-rich blood. That occurs when the heart squeezes and the bridge impedes blood flow through the coronary artery.”

Dr. Subramanian performed open-heart surgery, removing a vessel from Rowland’s leg and using it to bypass the bridge that was blocking her coronary artery. She was in critical care at TriStar Centennial Medical Center for about two weeks after the surgery until her blood pressure and oxygen levels stabilized.

Less than three months after the surgery, Rowland is out of the wheel chair and walking again. The fatigue and weakness are subsiding and she can enjoy the company of her grandchildren.

I recently walked back into church for the first time in a long time. And I am thanking God for sending me a caring, compassionate and skilled surgeon to give me my life back.

Barbara's Caregiver


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