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Kathy O'Donnell  | A Very Personal Best

Kathy's Story

Kathy O'Donnell, 44, is an athlete and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. But in May 2012, she collapsed during a workout and went into cardiac arrest. Clinically dead for 15 minutes, Kathy was revived by CPR and brought to Montefiore, where she remained  in a coma for a week.

Kathy's official diagnosis—severe mitral valve disease as a result of a congenital heart murmur—meant the valve between her left heart chambers didn't work properly, causing blood to leak backward into her heart. She had no previous symptoms.

Rather than replace her damaged mitral valve with an artificial device, Dr. Robert Michler, Surgeon-in-Chief at the Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care, fixed her native valve using a unique and complex surgical approach called the Butterfly Technique. Dr. Michler is one of a few elite surgeons in the nation performing this remarkable surgery. The procedure was a complete success.

Today, Kathy has made a full recovery and is back to the life she loves. She is exercising and working as a personal trainer again.

Montefiore, a premier academic medical center, received the three-star designation from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for the last three consecutive years. We are recognized not just among New York's top hospitals, but also as one of America's best. Our passionate, top-ranked doctors deliver positive outcomes that exceed national averages and achieve new heights in healing for patients like Kathy, every single day.

Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care is known for its innovation and clinical excellence, offering novel treatments for the most complex cases and advancing the field of cardiovascular care through pioneering research. Directed by internationally acclaimed experts, the Center offers a range of services including cardiac imaging, interventional cardiology, arrhythmia services and the most advanced surgical care for valve repair, aneurysms and heart failure, and provides some of the best outcomes in the state.  

Robert Michler

Learn more about Dr. Robert Michler