Marfan Syndrome patient gives back by volunteering

Cardiovascular Health Improvement Project is dedicated to the study of cardiovascular disease

Angela Rosinski was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome after experiencing an aortic dissection as well as other aortic complications. Her condition and subsequent treatment at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center led her to a decision to give back to U-M by becoming involved in the Cardiovascular Health Improvement Project. The program recruits volunteers to better understand cardiovascular disease and expand treatment for patients.

Angela shares her story:

I was perfectly healthy my entire life — until four years ago, on December 23, when I began to feel that something was very wrong with me. At first, I suspected indigestion, but the feeling continued. After lying down for a while with no results, I called my mom, who could hear the fear in my voice.

I had my five-year-old daughter and her cousin with me and had just put them to bed. Fortunately for me, they both came into the living room just as I began to feel as though I was suffocating. My daughter called 911, as did my mother. I was so relieved when I saw the lights from the ambulance in front of my house.

Although I was first diagnosed with a severe anxiety attack, my mom’s insistence on a CT scan paid off — and probably saved my life.

My mom had experienced a small dissection in her aorta 10 years prior and she had the feeling I was experiencing something similar. She was right. The CT scan revealed an aortic dissection. I was rushed to the University of Michigan where Dr. Himanshu Patel was waiting to perform what turned out to be a 16-hour surgery to repair my aorta, which had dissected all the way to my groin.

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