MEDICAL MARVELS: From a heart transplant to a thriving life

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Medical Marvels: Thriving thanks to a heart transplant
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A woman in the prime of her life arrived at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in dire condition.

NEW YORK -- WABC is taking 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

Cherie Aimée was in the prime of her life, newly married and running a successful business when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. And then, eight months after ending her chemotherapy, she went into cardiac arrest. Her local hospital was unable to do anything more for her, and she was transferred to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in dire condition.

She came under the care of Dr. Paolo C. Colombo, Sudhir Choudhrie Associate Professor of Cardiology (in Medicine) at the Columbia University Medical Center. At first, she was on a heart and lung machine, a solution that lasts only a few days, and then put on a short term LVAD, a mechanical pump that would allow her to sit in a chair, perhaps take a few steps, but required her to stay in the hospital.

She soon graduated to a long term LVAD that allowed her to return to a fairly normal lifestyle while waiting for a transplant. This was very significant in Cherie's case because she would have to wait many years until her cancer was considered cured before she could have the transplant. She remained under the care of NewYork- Presbyterian where the first heart transplant took place 40 years ago, and the first mechanical pump was implanted more than 25 years ago.

Finally, Cherie was cleared to receive a heart transplant and is now an avid advocate for organ donations. She says "the fact that I'm alive is a miracle" and she attributes it all to NewYork-Presbyterian.

Click here for more information on Dr. Paolo C. Colombo at NewYork-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center.