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Jennifer Dimartino’s Story

Congenital Heart Disease Survivor, Age 45, Plymouth, MA

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JEN NYC 2012 72res

Jennifer's Story

Hi, I’m Jen!  I was born with Atrial Septal Defect and Mitral Valve Regurgitation.  My first open-heart surgery was when I was 3 years old (at Mass General Hospital), where surgeons patched the hole and repaired my Mitral Valve with my own tissue.  My second open-heart surgery (also at MGH) was when I was a senior in High School, where they again repaired my valve with my own tissue…knowing that I would need a valve replacement at some point but were hoping to hold off until after college.  So, a year after I graduated from college, in 1992, my fiancee, family, and I made the decision to have my valve replaced while I was healthy and non-symptomatic so that I would have the best chance at a great surgery.  I decided to go with the St. Jude’s mechanical valve rather than a porcine valve.  I had the surgery at MGH and did great and I actually had a sub-mammary pacemaker put in at the time of my valve replacement as well, which was a result of my heart rhythm being impacted from the surgery.  It’s been 21 years since my valve replacement/pacemaker surgery – my husband of 18 years and I have a fantastic 14-year old son and live in Plymouth MA, where I work full-time as a Marketing Manager for a worldwide company, and run and workout every day. I am thankful every day that I was blessed with the BEST BEST BEST doctors and family who always cared/care for me and did/do their best to make me well and keep me well.  I try to do my part to live a healthy lifestyle to maintain all the great things that I was so lucky to have received! Happy to share my story for Go Red For Women! I hope that great new therapies, surgeries and cures become available every day so that everyone with heart conditions can live a great life!  A little side note for those of you faced with similar issues: don’t ever be afraid of a valve or pacemaker – they will be your best friends and you will love them!!!  <3 :) Jen 

April 2013

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