“Managing the Unmanageable: New Treatment Options for Pulmonary Hypertension” – Karla’s Story


(calming music) She went down the hall of the offices and she said, “They’re admitting Karla! They’re admitting Karla!” (laughter) So everybody was very supportive, they came to see me. “What happened?” “I don’t know,” it just happened. My name is Karla Starckovich I’m from Parnell, Iowa, which is down by
Williamsburg and I work in the heart and vascular center of the hospital. I walk in from Ramp 3 and into the main fountain area and I would just barely
get there and have to stop and get my breath. I was so short of
breath and it was a lot of pressure, and I knew that wasn’t
right. I’ve been very active all my life. My mother had just had a triple bypass and I had spoken to her also on what I was feeling and she said that that
sounded like how she felt when she was having a heart attack. And
so then I thought, “Well, I definitely should get one of those heart risk
assessments. And there was something not right there, so they immediately took
me downstairs to the Heart and Vascular Clinic. We end up admitting me and having a heart cath done on both sides of my
heart right and left. They determined that
the pressures on the right side of my heart were extremely high because they were concerned about heart failure. And then I had some other tests; done some breathing tests, um, what’s called a PET Scan, and they
determined that it was pulmonary hypertension. Don’t know where it came from because
there’s no family history of that. I was part of a study where they use two drugs to, um, treat the patient and you either had — you always got one drug or there were somedays you may have two actual drugs. I had great results, I
always was better, um, I didn’t go backwards I always went forward as far as how I
felt, how I could breathe. So I completed that and was on a positive end, and so now I– I continue with, um, they tell me what
two drugs are and I continue with those now. I thought I was too active to ever have
anything wrong with my heart, my lungs, or anything. I didn’t have any
pain in my arms or anything, it was just all in my
chest, and it just was a lot of pressure so I– I think the symptoms are different
for everyone. If you have something that doesn’t feel
right and you know it doesn’t feel right, you need to ask questions and you need to be your own doctor, in some ways as far
as “Well, if it doesn’t seem right,” you need to see somebody, you need to tell someone. The best thing of having my treatment at
the University of Iowa is the nurses, the doctors, everyone I dealt with was very nice, kind, supportive. They really cared, you know, you could tell they care. They’re all my friends now. (Calming music)

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