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The Smith family, Lindsey, Jeremy, Read and Kaylyn sitting on their house porch swing enjoying the sunny afternoon.

Lindsey Read-Smith - Shepherd, MI

"Thanks to the staff’s quick response and the on-going heart care I’ve received, I’ve been able to resume my busy life as a mom, an attorney and a small business owner.”"

Medical Center Delivers Both Her Daughter and Amazing Heart Care

Lindsey Read-Smith, attorney and small business owner in Shepherd, had a smooth pregnancy and delivery with her first child, so she had no reason to expect the second would be any different. Immediately following the birth of a healthy daughter; however, she felt anxious when she tried to lie down and couldn’t sleep; she knew something was wrong. After an emergency CT scan, Lindsey was diagnosed with systolic heart failure, which happens when the left ventricle of the heart can’t contract completely. The following day, she had a heart attack in the hospital.

Thanks to the quick action of the staff at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland and the subsequent care she received at MidMichigan’s Heart Failure Clinic, Read-Smith is once again able to do everything she wants to do for herself and her kids.

Looking back, Lindsey can now identify signs of a heart condition she had misattributed to her pregnancy. “I was feeling very tired and would get quite dizzy at times,” she said. “I even began losing weight close to my delivery date. I had gestational diabetes as well, so I just wasn’t thinking about my heart.”

Lindsey’s scan showed that her left ventricle was dangerously enlarged and was only functioning at 22 percent. Cardiologist and Heart Failure Specialist Jeffrey Martindale, D.O., delivered the news that she had heart failure. “It was the worst news of my life,” she recalled. “I felt a profound sense of doom thinking that my children were going to grow up without a mother. But Dr. Martindale didn’t let me stay in that head space too long. He told me I was going to be ok, and I trusted him. He hasn’t let me down.”

The heart attack precipitated a thrombectomy to remove clots and help restore blood flow to and through her heart. The nursing staff did everything they could to keep Read-Smith close to her daughter during those critical early days while keeping both of them safe. “My nurse moved with me from maternity to progressive care,” she said. “That meant a lot.” Lindsey’s mother took an active role with the baby so she could heal and rest without sacrificing bonding time. “My mother was, and is, amazing.”

Lindsey was discharged with a Life Vest™ defibrillator to help protect against recurring problems in the short term and was back to work in six weeks. Six months after that, a defibrillator was implanted by Electrophysiologist Opesanmi Esan, M.D., along with prescribed visits to the Heart Failure Clinic to manage her condition. Lindsey continued to visit Dr. Martindale at the clinic for guideline-directed medical therapy and ongoing monitoring. Today, her left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), which measures how effectively the heart is pumping blood, is up from that 22 percent to 45 percent.

“I can’t say enough about the care I received and continue to receive,” she said. “My Obstetrician Dr. Sandeep Rao, Dr. Martindale, the nurses in OB and in the surgical intensive care unit – were all phenomenal. Today, I can meet with providers in person or virtually, so it’s easy to stay on top of things. I never feel rushed; they answer all of my questions. I feel connected.”

Lindsey continues to watch her blood pressure and has graduated to a six-month check-in with the Clinic. She maintains a vegetarian diet and stays active by hiking, snowshoeing and shopping with friends. She works hard at the office and business and feels great. She is also able to keep up with her kids. “You know, I have driven right past other facilities to get to MidMichigan in Midland,” she said. “I don’t plan to change that.”

MidMichigan Health offers a full array of heart and vascular services, including open heart surgery, vascular surgery, electrophysiology for heart rhythm problems and advanced interventional procedures. For additional information about heart failure or MidMichigan’s Heart Failure Clinic, visit www.midmichigan.org/heartfailure.

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