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Heart surgery gives breath of life to Kingsport woman

By Lyndsey Price, lprice@wcyb.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:39:50 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 05 2013 05:00:00 PM CDT

When some people think about open heart surgery they think about blockage to the heart, but a different kind of heart surgery is helping a local woman live life to the fullest.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

When some people think about open heart surgery they think about blockage to the heart, but a different kind of heart surgery is helping a local woman live life to the fullest.

Being able to walk on the greenbelt in Kingsport is something Cathy Marsh doesn't take for granted, "I started noticing I was just out of breath, you know out of breath and having some dizziness," says Marsh.

Marsh tells us she had been in and out of the hospital but couldn't figure out what was wrong. She says then the symptoms got worse, "The doctors told me they thought I needed to see a surgeon, which totally surprised me because I had no idea that was what it was leading to," adds Marsh.

After meeting with a surgeon Marsh learned she had a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and would have to have open heart surgery, "They explained everything in detail about what they were going to do, they drew me pictures, and I just felt very confident going in," says Marsh.

Wellmont CVA Cardiologist Dr. Herb Ladley was one of Marsh's doctors and he tells us her condition caused the heart muscle to become thick, "It’s an outer portion thickening of the heart muscle that has a lot of implications in terms of symptoms," says Dr. Ladley.

Dr. Ladley tells us those symptoms are exactly what Marsh was experiencing, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Marsh tells us the procedure seemed to help her problem, "Just took the heart out and trimmed off the thickening that valve just went right back into place," adds Marsh.

Dr. Ladley tells us the surgery didn't cure the condition but it treated the symptoms.

Marsh says now she feels great and is able to do just about anything, "I walked a 5K a couple of weekends ago, and I felt good about that," adds Marsh.

We learned the disease is genetic.  Doctors say anyone who has this disease in their family may also need to be evaluated.