Mark’s Story

“The difference between two years ago and now, it’s like nobody recognizes me.”

For as long as 61-year-old Mark can remember, he’s been sick. “I’m a severe asthmatic, and I wasn’t making any progress. In fact, I was continually going downhill.” In 2012, Mark suffered cardiac arrest for the fifth time, and that was the last straw.

Mark went to Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, searching for a lifeline, and he found Dr. Matthew Sevensma. “Mark was struggling,” Dr. Sevensma explained. “He suffered from heart, lung and kidney failure and other organ dysfunctions. We immediately set him up with a care team, and developed a plan to improve his quality of life.”

“When I came for my first visit, I couldn’t even make it from the parking lot to the front door without help,” Mark said through tears. “I was in rough shape.”

Dr. Sevensma recommended a medication regimen, and continued to monitor Mark’s progress. “For years, he followed our medication instructions, but he still wasn’t feeling the way he wanted to,” Dr. Sevensma said.

“I didn’t have a positive attitude, and I was looking for another option,” Mark recalled. “Then, Dr. Sevensma told me about CardioMEMS™ and asked if I’d be willing to try it.”

The CardioMEMS™ device is an implantable pressure monitor that is placed inside the pulmonary artery. “It’s cutting-edge technology,” Dr. Sevensma explained. “It allows us to be inside Mark’s heart and monitor his pressure in real time.” Based on the pressure readings, Dr. Sevensma can adjust Mark’s medications to reduce his chance of experiencing adverse symptoms. Mark also has the ability to take his own pressure readings, at home, and send them to his care team.

The CardioMEMS™ device changed Mark’s life completely. “He’s not on oxygen anymore, his weight is down, he’s enjoying life and he’s finally getting to do the things he’s always wanted to,” Dr. Sevensma relates.

“I visited Mackinac Island with my grandkids, and my pedometer said I walked three-quarters of a mile,” Mark exclaimed. “Last year, I could hardly walk 50 feet across the parking lot.”

Mark remembers his initial hesitation with having the device implanted, and he wondered if Metro’s staff could handle his uncertainty. “I thought, they’re going to get tired of me and this isn’t going to work. But they never gave up on me, and they were so compassionate.”

“Metro Health is unique in that we surround every patient with a caring team. It’s an approach that makes us different and truly improves the lives of our patients,” said Dr. Sevensma.

Mark is now able to live his life fully, and he attributes that to Metro Health’s commitment to his care. “If you find the right doctor and the right team, which I have at Metro, they can give you your life back. You can live again.”