Cardiovascular Disease is Not Just for Men

Healing Hearts: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon book review

I recently finished reading a very touching and eye opening book by the director of women’s cardiac services at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Dr. Kathy E. Magliato. Her story sheds light on how heart disease can make an impact on someone’s life. This book especially hit home for me because cardiovascular disease is very prominent on both sides of my family. I don’t handle stress very well either, so suffering from a heart attack is one of my biggest fears.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women. In Dr. Magliato’s memoir she introduces us to several patients, most of them female. At the beginning of the book you meet a young mother of six. She led a very stressful life balancing work and family. After suffering from what she thought was indigestion she had a massive heart attack. Nobody discussed with her about her risks for heart disease. Surgery was performed on her heart but she still died three months later. This first chapter scared me and I didn’t know if I could continue reading. What if that woman were me?

“No one had bothered to ask Dorothy about her risk factors for heart disease. She had four. No one bothered to check her preprocedure EKG. It was abnormal. Why not? She was young. She was otherwise healthy. She was only having a “minor procedure” to look for an ulcer. But 1 in every 2.4 women will die from cardiovascular illness.”

We also learn more about the medical profession from Dr. Magliato. She exposes the more human side to being a heart sergeon. In Healing Hearts we follow her through medical school, her long hours as an intern, her romance with her now husband and how she juggles both her career and family.

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Dr. Magliato also shows compassion and care for her patients. She celebrates with them when they recover from surgery and mourns with the family of patients that lose the battle. Her story really touched my heart and is one that should be on every woman‘s bookshelf.

You can purchase Healing Hearts: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon at Alibris for $15.27 or purchase it at your favorite book store.

*Disclosure I received a copy of Healing Hearts in exchange for this review. All opinions are true and 100% mine.

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  • Amy , April 6, 2010

    thanks for stopping by.. This is a great post to learn from..

  • Rebecca&apos;s Heart , April 6, 2010

    Thanks for the recommendation. I too am a young woman who suffers from heart disease specific to woman; Coronary Microvascular Disease. I fully understand what it means to not be taken seriously by the medical professionals. Thanks for getting the word out there!
    Rebecca Fortunato

  • Muthering Heights , April 7, 2010

    Yes…I've heard that many women don't even realize that they've had a heart attack due to differing symptoms!

  • Helene , April 7, 2010

    I may have to pick up a copy of this book. I have heart disease on both sides of my family so I know this is something I need to take more seriously. Maybe this book is my wake-up call!!!

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