The “picture of health”, Marianna didn’t realize that the sudden pain she was experiencing back in 2011 was a heart attack.
She wouldn’t know that until four years later, thanks to the newly-installed cardiac MRI at the Heart Institute.
However, back then she went to the emergency room of her local hospital and was diagnosed with a viral myocarditis, an inflammatory disease of the heart muscle. A corporal for the Canadian Armed Forces for the past 15 years, Marianna had just moved from New Brunswick to Chalk River, and in her spare time, she played soccer, tennis and swam. She recovered from the viral myocarditis six months later, optimistically believing that her heart troubles would soon be over.
But last January 10, 2015, just days before her 40th birthday, she again felt crippling pain in her chest. The pain was so bad, she described it as “unbearable.”
“I didn’t really know what it was but I knew something was wrong once more,” says Marianna. “I didn’t wait this time, I went straight to the emergency room.”
She spent three days at the Deep River Hospital and returned home with medication. Another cardiac event followed and she was admitted to the Pembroke Hospital. Soon after, she was quickly transferred to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute where they performed an angiogram within an hour of her arrival.
The results indicated that there was no obvious blockage in any of her heart arteries (otherwise known as coronary arteries). The angiogram did reveal that there was an abnormality in one of her arteries, which warranted further look into her heart.
Marianna was asked to stay another day so that she could go through the Institute’s brand new cardiac MRI. The newly-installed cardiac MRI offered clearer insight into her heart. It also saved her life.
That morning, because of its precise imaging capabilities, the MRI revealed that she had had a heart attack that day back in 2011. The images also suggested that her heart attacks may have occurred because of a small tear that was able to be seen on the angiogram.
“I was glad to be here at the Ottawa Heart Institute,” said Marianna. “It was a shock to me; I didn’t think I had had a heart attack. I am quite relieved that I finally know what’s going on.”
The next day, she received her prescription and she was on her way back home to her two-year-old daughter and husband.
Thanks to our community’s generosity, we were able to secure a cardiac MRI for the Ottawa Heart Institute, the first in Eastern Ontario which serves over 1.1 million people in the Champlain region.
“I received really great care at the Ottawa Heart Institute,” said Marianna gratefully. “I broke down at one point and the nurses were there for me. They were just human. They knew everything and they had all the answers to my questions.”