CLEVELAND — A Cleveland woman celebrated her 100th birthday with a cardiologist who saved her life 20 years ago.
When she was just about 80 years old, Cecilia Zarobila had experienced severe shortness of breath, so she went to see her cardiologist Dr. Michel Farah, of the University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, who diagnosed her with congestive heart failure.
An ultrasound revealed she had a very weak heart that was not pumping blood throughout the rest of her body.
Farah said a cardiac catheterization showed that two major coronary arteries were blocked and other branches had severe disease, so on April 27, 2001, at 79, Zarobila underwent a quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery.
The weeks after the surgery were difficult as her chest was kept open for several days to help stabilize her. She had an abnormal heart rhythm and was on a respirator for 17 days, according to University Hospitals.
“She would not be alive today if we hadn’t completed the bypass surgery at age 79,” said Farah. “It has been a joy to follow Cecilia’s health for two decades and to see her come into my office happy and healthy.”
Fast forward to 20 years later, Zarobila is a success story. When she turned 100 on Dec. 20, Farah and the team at the UH Minoff Health Center at Chagrin Highlands surprised her with a cake and celebration.
Farah continues to treat Cecilia for hypertension, high cholesterol and aortic valve disease.
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