Medical Marvels: Patient thriving after 3 heart surgeries before the age of 34

WABC logo
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Medical Marvels: Patient thrives after three heart surgeries before the age of 34
NewYork-Presbyterian's new technology helps save a patient with congenital heart disease.

MANHATTAN, New York City (WABC) -- Rebecca Szymanski was born with a three-chambered heart with no right ventricle.

Szymanski had multiple heart surgeries to correct this heart condition before the age of 6. The benefits of the operations were estimated to last 20 years, but lasted for 27 years until she began having shortness of breath caused by blood clots.

Dr. Marlon Rosenbaum worked round the clock with his team at NewYork-Presbyterian to determine the best treatment plan for her complex heart condition. There were complications due to the liver having been compromised, as is usual in these heart cases.

The team wanted to avoid the need for a heart transplant, so Dr. Rosenbaum chose to break up the clots with clot dissolving medication delivered through a blood vessel catheter. He then recommended surgery to revise the patient's previous heart operation from early childhood to a modern version, using what is called an extracardiac Fontan procedure.

Szymanski was discharged on August 2, 2016, a day before her 34th birthday, and she says she owes her life to NewYork-Presbyterian.

"There's nothing I can say or do to show my appreciation or my thanks, except go out and live my life," Szymanski said.

Click here for more information on Dr. Marlon Rosenbaum, at NewYork-Presbyterian & Columbia University Medical Center.

WABC-TV is proud to have taken you inside NewYork-Presbyterian for a look at some extraordinary stories that we call Medical Marvels. It's WABC's Emmy-nominated digital series exclusive to abc7NY.com.