Angela’s Story: Pulmonary Hypertension Diagnosis Brings Peace of Mind

For many people, heart problems don’t begin until their senior years. But for Angela “Angi” Coning of Tipp City, age 50, her problems started when she was born with congestive heart failure threatening her very survival.

Then when Angi was five, she had open heart surgery to correct a coarctation of the aorta the large blood vessel branching off the heart. About a year later, another surgery corrected a mitral valve stenosis situation, a burden for a little girl who had to drop out of kindergarten due to a lack of energy.

Since then, keeping on top of her heart problems has been a constant part of Angi’s life, with doctor visits, hospitalizations, and medical procedures frequently occurring.

For decades she has experienced atrial fibrillation also called “AFib,” an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow. Cardioversion is a medical procedure by which the abnormally fast heart rate is converted to a normal rhythm using electricity. Angi has had more cardioversion procedures than she can count.

Remarkably, Angi has lived a normal life to a great degree. She was graduated from Butler High School in Vandalia and Bowling Green State University, married, and taught math at Fairborn High School for 19 years. Because pregnancy would be too much of a strain on her heart, she and her husband adopted two children from Russia.

New Problems Occur For Angi

But starting in 2007, Angi, who was also diagnosed with diabetes, knew her health was taking a turn for the worse. The downturn meant she needed to retire from teaching, a huge loss in her life. Worse, she had a difficult time finding the expert healthcare she needed after her regular heart doctor retired.

“I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me,” she said. “I was gaining weight, full of water and had diabetic open wounds on my legs. I knew my AFib was acting up and all a doctor told me was to eat less salt. The problem was way beyond that. I tried other doctors but nothing helped.”

A vast improvement happened when she saw Abdul Wase, MD of Premier Cardiovascular Institute.Dr. Wase, who specializes in electrophysiology, studied her entire history, evaluated her current condition, and helped her receive a diagnosis - pulmonary hypertension, which is a condition involving tiny arteries in the lungs becoming narrowed, blocked, or destroyed. Angi's condition is still serious - and complicated. But she feels it is under control, thanks to Dr. Wase, who continues to direct the next steps in her care.

“I’m in love with Dr. Wase,” Angi says with enthusiasm. “He’s amazing. He knows the right people and knows how to help me. Plus, the people at Premier Heart are wonderful.

“Having the right doctor, the right practice, has meant everything to me,” she says.

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Every moment of your life depends on a strong, healthy heart. The Premier Health cardiology and vascular services team is here to help you, each beat of the way, with prevention, diagnostic, treatment, and rehabilitation services in our hospitals, outpatient centers, and medical offices across Southwest Ohio.