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Kaiser Permanente Members Share Stories of Survival for February's Heart Health Month
Date:2/11/2013

ecessary medications and had her heart checked regularly. "I lived! I absolutely lived!" Susan recalls. "There wasn't anything I couldn't do."

But in the fall of 2009, her health turned a second time. The congestive heart failure that had ravaged the left side of Susan's heart in 2003 had moved to the right side. She spent the better part of a year in a Kaiser Permanente hospital, where the care was unending. But as her organs threatened to shut down, the prospects seemed bleak. 

Thanks to Kaiser Permanente, Susan got her life back on June 20, 2010. A call from Kaiser Permanente's Los Angeles Medical Center informed her that a match was found for her heart. By 11 p.m. that night, Susan was wheeled into surgery, where a team of Kaiser Permanente's surgeons performed the heart surgery that would let Mahler live to see many more years and tell the story of her care. 

Colorado resident Kathy Spencer , like many people, was aware of standard indicators of an oncoming heart attack like chest pain and palpitations. But she was about to learn that signs of heart attack can often differ in women.

One of these lesser-known symptoms caught Spencer off-guard. After experiencing intense jaw pain during her morning coffee, she called Kaiser Permanente's helpline. After a string of questions, the nurse insisted Kathy go to the hospital immediately; she might be having a heart attack. 

Kathy was skeptical of the nurse's diagnosis, but erred on the side of caution. At the hospital, Kaiser Permanente's doctors quickly put her through a series of tests. The results validated nurse's fear: the jaw pain was a sign of an oncoming heart attack.  

Dr. Julie Sutherland is very familiar with non-traditional signs of heart attack in women. "Women may come in with shortness of breath, they may come in with symptoms of jaw or arm pain, t
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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