“Before, I was just like, ‘Okay, this is it. Go ahead, take me. I’m done,’” said Ardyth Leady. “My family, we knew nothing about family history that indicated any heart conditions.”
For Leady, “before” means before she started receiving the heart care that restored her energy and has her enjoying life again. It means before 2014, when her primary care physician told her it was time she see a cardiologist for her high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation (AFib).
Leady was in for a shock during her first visit with her cardiologist, Dr. James Perschbacher. He sent her straight to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital South due to her AFib.
“It’s amazing, the care I got right away in the ER. They had to do a cardioversion to get my heart back into rhythm,” said Leady.
Physicians also diagnosed Leady with congestive heart failure. But Leady admits, after that AFib procedure, she neglected her own health as she focused on caring for a loved one. “I wasn’t paying attention to my body, and I ended up spending Christmas 2017 in the hospital,” said Leady.
During that hospital stay, Leady’s physicians recommended she see the team at the Mercy Clinic Heart Failure Program – 10004 Kennerly on the Mercy South campus. Under the care of Dr. Charles Carey and nurse practitioners Vijay Divakaran and Jennifer Papin, the team focused on initiating Leady on guideline directed medications for her weak heart as well as managing signs and symptoms of fluid accumulation, which brought some improvement.
Dr. Carey recommended Leady have the CardioMEMS monitor implanted near her heart. The device is part of the CardioMEMS HF System that measures how much fluid is passing through as an indicator of how well the patient’s heart is performing. Leady put off the procedure as she continued to care for her loved one, until she ended up back in the hospital.
“I thought, ‘I have to do something about this,’” said Leady.
Leady and her team of cardiac electrophysiologists decided medication was the best option to treat her AFib. And she came in for a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, during which Dr. Carey implanted the CardioMEMS monitor in Leady’s lung artery through a vein in her leg.
“Every morning, I get up and I lay on this pillow. The device by my bedside tells me to lay still when I am in the right position. Eighteen seconds later, the reading is done. I get up and the monitor sends the measurements to the heart failure clinic. It’s a lot easier than I thought it was going to be,” said Leady.
Leady receives automated calls to let her know her measurements are fine. If there is a problem, someone from the heart failure program calls Leady to discuss the results and what they may need to adjust to improve them.
“To me, it’s a godsend because I don’t worry as much as I did before. It’s reassuring to know that there’s people looking out for me,” said Leady.
After the necessary adjustments were made to Leady’s medication, she is doing much better. She no longer has problems with her breathing. She’s doing so well, she is now able to attend fitness training, which is further helping her get stronger.
“I was admitted to the hospital three times in the first half of 2018. With the help of the heart failure program, knock on wood, I haven’t been back in the hospital since then and I don’t have to see the heart care team as often as before,” said Leady.