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During Heart Month, our patients and care providers share their stories

To honor American Heart Month, we asked a handful of University of Minnesota Health Heart Care providers and patients to tell us about their experiences.
University of Minnesota Health Cardiologist Cindy Martin, MD, is the medical director of our heart failure program. “Our team sees some extraordinary patients here," she said. "They come in—many times near death or in very poor health—and with our help and expertise they come around."
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Nurse Maurice Barr loves building close relationships with the families he serves. Cardiologist Cindy Martin, MD, isn’t satisfied unless her patients are living a full, healthy life. Heart patient Glen Kelley is just grateful to have found compassionate care when he needed it.

To honor American Heart Month, we asked a handful of University of Minnesota Health Heart Care providers and patients to tell us about their experiences. These are the stories, statements and moments they chose to share.

Learn more about University of Minnesota Health Heart Care.

Maurice Barr

Maurice Barr is a nurse in our pediatric cardiovascular intensive care unit at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.

 “My job gives my life purpose; I am part of a process that brings great joy to families that at one time felt hopeless. Because of advances in medicine, amazing things are happening in congenital heart care. The most rewarding part of my work is being able to care for a child from surgery to discharge. The families are genuine and grateful and it shows. It's like every week or so, I am allowed to be a part of another family—treated like one of their own.”

Kris Mannchen

Nurse Practitioner Kristine Mannchen, MSN, CNP, is the program director for our C.O.R.E. Clinic for Heart Failure Management.

“I’m passionate about making a difference by improving the quality of life for my patients. 

In many cases, our care team helps reverse the effects of heart failure. Our work not only helps the patient, but also extends to the patient’s family. With our efforts, the family members can experience a quality of life together." 

Cindy Martin

Cardiologist Cindy Martin, MD, is the medical director of our heart failure program.

“Our team sees some extraordinary patients here. They come in—many times near death or in very poor health—and with our help and expertise they come around. We are not always able to save everyone, and it’s very hard to see patients go through such difficult moments. At the same time, I feel better knowing that in many cases we’re helping them live their life. I don’t want you to just be alive, I want you to be living.”

Glen Kelley

Glen Kelley was diagnosed with heart failure and received care through University of Minnesota Health Heart Care.

“I’ve been going to University of Minnesota Health for my heart care since 2005, and I received my new heart on August 8, 2016. During this 12-year journey, I’ve really developed some special relationships with my care providers. I’m personally thankful for every one of those relationships because they’ve kept me alive. Even when my doctors found that it was in my best interest to send me to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, for heart transplant, my cardiologist kept daily tabs on me. You don’t find that level of compassion everywhere.”

Tori and Summer Ostlund

Diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, Summer Ostlund underwent four open-heart surgeries and became our 800th heart transplant recipient—all before her first birthday! Now, three years after Summer’s surgeries, the Ostlunds are busy enjoying the day-to-day life of a young family, according to Summer’s mom, Tori.

“We feel like the most fortunate people. We have a refined outlook on life and raising children. Sweating the small stuff isn’t part of our world. We laughed all the way through Summer’s terrible twos—having her around was gift enough, despite the fact that she took crayons to ‘decorate’ multiple walls.”

Todd Baxter

Todd Baxter, a former Minnesota Swarm professional lacrosse player, received care through University of Minnesota Health Heart Care.

“I always felt an abnormal heart rate when participating in a physically demanding activity, but I didn’t know that sensation was different, unusual or potentially dangerous. When I was 24, I received a standard physical before the start of the Minnesota Swarm lacrosse season. At the appointment, I was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which means that I had an extra electrical pathway in my heart. The pathway caused my heart to beat irregularly and put me at risk for serious heart problems. A few months later, Dr. Huagui Li treated the condition with an ablation. Now, I don’t have to worry about sudden cardiac arrest when I’m working out or participating in recreational activities. For that reason, I’m forever thankful to Dr. Li and his staff.”

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