November 9, 2023

Shirley Polk

Shirley Polk was 44 and had just given birth to her second child, LJ, when she experienced difficulty breathing. While in the recovery room, her symptoms became more severe and medical staff had to act quickly.Shirley held her husband Jojo’s hand and told him she loved him before she lost consciousness. Shirley was then intubated and rushed past her nine-year-old daughter, Aubrey, to the critical care unit (CCU).Physicians diagnosed her with peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) and implanted the Impella® heart pump to allow her heart to rest. Jojo and Shirley’s parents listened as thedoctors explained opHons for Shirley. They were told she would be in the hospital for a minimum of four months if she survived, and were given the option of a heart transplant or a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). A day later, however, Shirley’s heart function began to improve. She was transferred to a different hospital for escalated care but after only two days of Impella®support, Shirley’s heart had recovered. She would not require a heart transplant or LVAD.

After ten days in the hospital, Shirley returned home to her husband and two children. Today she is back to cycling 15 miles a day and has resumed her high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes. She now looks forward to a long life with her family.



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