On Dec. 18, 2015, Mecole Springer was meeting with two staff members in her office when the room, “just went lopsided.”
“I closed my eyes for a few seconds, hoping that would help, but it didn’t,” she said. Mecole then told her staff she was going to turn off her lights and rest and asked them to come back in five minutes. They did, and they brought a nurse with them. After a quick check of her vitals, they decided Mecole needed to go to the hospital. Her daughter picked her up from work, and they immediately drove to University Hospital, the family’s hospital of choice.
Mecole and her daughter entered University Hospital’s ED and were sent to Triage, where the nurse immediately sent her back to see a physician. “They said I was having a stroke,” Mecole said. “One side of my face was sagging, so it was pretty apparent what was happening. I was absolutely shocked; I’ve always been in good health.”
Physicians initially zeroed in on Mecole’s use of birth control pills as the possible source of the problem, but her cardiologist, Patrick Hall, M.D., decided to look further for an explanation. Dr. Hall ordered a battery of tests to cover all possibilities, and finally found the culprit – an undiagnosed hole in Mecole’s heart.
Mecole knew all about holes in hearts. Not for herself, but her daughter, who was diagnosed with a hole in her heart when she was a year old. She had open-heart surgery when she was just 3-years-old to fix the problem, but Mecole had no idea she and her daughter shared the medical condition.
But she didn’t have to undergo the arduous procedure her daughter did to fix her condition. Dr. Hall knew he could correct the hole without ever having to enter a surgical suite. In University Hospital’s catheterization lab, Dr. Hall was able to use the Amplatzer Septal Occluder-Cribiform device to repair the hole via a needle stick.
“I went in for the procedure on Friday, left the hospital on Saturday and was back at work on Monday,” Mecole said.
Months after the procedure, Mecole is happy to say she suffers no lasting effect from the stroke and even has noticed an overall improvement in her health.
“I just have so much more energy,” she said. “I also use to suffer from dizzy spells, but I just thought it was normal; they’re all gone.
“I thought I felt well, but now that I’ve had this procedure, I can’t tell you how much better I feel!”