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Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center Patient Stories

Read about our patients who regained their health at the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. Guided by our dedicated team of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, interventional cardiologists, anesthesiologists, radiologists, pharmacists, nurses and social workers, these individuals have successfully navigated their path to recovery.

  • When Kathleen Connolly, 75, learned that a genetic heart condition increased her risk for heart attack and stroke, she wanted to find a permanent solution. Her condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) caused dizziness, shortness of breath and fatigue that affected her ability to walk even short distances. “There were medications I could take to avoid surgery,” she says. “But I didn’t want to mitigate the problem. I wanted to solve it.” 

    Kathleen’s care team, including Mariko Harper, MD, director of he Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and surgeon Robert Moraca, MD, helped her prepare for her surgical myectomy that took place November 2, 2022. “I don’t think anyone knows what to expect with open heart surgery, but as soon as I met Dr. Moraca, I wasn’t nervous,” she says. “He’s extremely talented and experienced, and is also one of the most caring, intuitive, patient surgeons I’ve ever met.” 

    With her heart health restored, Kathleen can enjoy life without worrying about her inherited heart condition. “If somebody has HCM, I highly recommend that they contact Dr. Harper and her team,” she says. “From the person at the front desk to the nurses to the people in the ICU, everybody I met at Virginia Mason impressed me with their patient-centric attitude. They really cared about the patient. Every question I asked was given an answer that was detailed, accurate, and very professional.”

    Kathleen Connolly
  • Juanita Labosier, 68, was shocked to learn that she needed open heart surgery for a lifelong genetic condition she didn’t know she had. After years of struggling with shortness of breath and debilitating fatigue, Jaunita was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a condition that impairs the heart’s ability to pump blood, in 2022. “The news was scary, because I’ve never had surgery before, and this was a big surgery,” she says. “But as soon as I met Dr. Harper, Dr. Moroca, and the team at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, I knew I didn’t need to go anyplace else. They’re all good, caring, respectful people. I felt safe there.”

    After Dr. Moroca performed Juanita’s surgery in September, she noticed an immediate difference in her breathing and her energy levels. “Right away, I could tell that my heart worked. I’m feeling better and better now, and I know I’m lucky to be alive,” Juanita says. “I met Dr. Harper at the right time. She worked with me and helped me figure out a solution.”

    Juanita Griffin Sullivan

Contact us

For more information or if you a referring provider, please call 206-223-7554. Virtual visits are an option.