Sally Howles of Venango is on her way to receive a new heart.
Howles, 60, had been accepted for inclusion on the “critical transplant list,” meaning she was on the list of possible recipients to receive a heart transplant should a heart become available. Good news came Saturday afternoon, when she received the call that a heart was now available, according to her daughter Megan, who called the Tribune to share with our readers.
Sally and her family were en route to Pittsburgh’s UPMC Presbyterian for the transplant procedure.
Until that point, Sally had been living on an IV pump, which pumps medication into her heart to keep her alive. Patients with pumps are listed as 1B patients, meaning they are on the second set of possible recipients. The first list, 1A, is for patients now hospitalized in intensive care units.
Howles has been having heart issues for 15 years and has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, COPD, cardio myopathy, atrial fibrillation and myocarditis. Her problems started 15 years ago when she had shortness of breath. She said she never has had any heart pain; she just can’t breathe well.
Her condition has steadily worsened until now she needs the heart transplant. Doctors had a difficult time trying to determine the cause of her problems. After going through tests at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, the diagnosis was that at some time in her life, she picked up a virus, which apparently attached to her heart.
Meanwhile, Sally’s friends are stepping up to the plate to help her raise money for the heart transplant. Donations may be made by going to helphopelive.org. Any funds not used for Howles will be given to other transplant patients.