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Methodist in the Media

Iowa Woman Shares Story of 'Race Against Time' After Life-Threatening Aortic Dissection

Published: Feb. 22, 2022

February is American Heart Month, and local doctors want to remind you to love your heart now, more than ever.

One woman who exemplifies the importance of that message is Des Moines resident Patrice Howard. The 69-year-old knew something was very wrong in October when she couldn't catch her breath or sit up she called an ambulance.

From there on, it was a desperate race against time to get Patrice care. There were calls to hospitals in places like Chicago, Minnesota and Iowa for more than three hours. Help came in the form of Dr. HelenMari Merritt-Genore, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Methodist Physicians Clinic.

Patrice suffered an aortic dissection. It's a fairly rare event that is fatal without intervention.

"By getting her here and getting her immediately to the operating room, I would say she was probably within hours of death," Dr. Merritt-Genore said.

KMTV: EXCLUSIVE: Iowa Woman Shares Story of 'Race Against Time' After Life-Threatening Aortic Dissection