Heart-Brain Clinic at CHI Health Immanuel changing lives: Meet grateful patient Amiee Hart

Amiee Hart knew something was off. The 47-year-old mom of four was perfectly healthy, but earlier this year she started getting debilitating migraines. One day in February, her migraine was too much to take. She decided to go to the emergency room where she underwent a CT scan. The results were shocking.

“I cried a lot,” Hart said. She learned those migraines she’d been having were actually small strokes taking place in both lobes of her brain. Doctors have no idea how many. More tests also revealed Hart has a hole in her heart - a condition called patent foramen ovale (PFO). 

According to Dr. Himanshu Agarwal, Interventional Cardiologist & CHI Health Structural Heart Program Director, this condition is found in one out of every four people. It’s a small opening between the two upper chambers of the heart. Dr. Agarwal said those who have PFO don’t always have strokes, but a high percentage of strokes that occur in young people, like Hart, can be attributed to this condition.

After learning about her heart condition and strokes, Hart was quickly referred to CHI Health’s new clinic where Stroke Neurologist Dr. Vishal Jani and Cardiologist Dr. Himanshu Agarwal – two of the top doctors in their fields – meet with patients at the same time to come up with a treatment plan for both their heart and their brain.

“When we got the idea to start this clinic, it was among very few clinics of its kind across the country,” said Dr. Agarwal. “Now, more and more hospitals are adopting this model of care, which puts the patient first and allows for a more collaborative approach between cardiology and neurology specialties.”

Together, Dr. Agarwal and Dr. Jani see patients at one time to prevent them from having to make separate appointments and draw out a treatment plan when time is often critical. For Hart, she needed to have the hole in her heart closed to prevent future strokes from occurring.

“This clinic was started to streamline care for patients,” said Dr. Vishal Jani,  Medical Director for Stroke and NeuroIntervention for CHI Health Hospitals. “It allows patients to leave an appointment with a multidisciplinary approach to their care and a plan forward. There’s no waiting for answers. We want to get them the care they need as quickly as possible.”

Dr. Agarwal closed Hart’s PFO on March 30th. Dr. Jani put her on medications to ensure a stroke wouldn’t occur again before her procedure. She’s spending the summer in Florida with her family - able to live freely without the fear of having more strokes.

Learn more about Heart Care and Stroke Care at CHI Health.

 

Himanshu Agarwal, MD

Interventional Cardiology,
Cardiology

Vishal Jani, MBBS

Neurology