Chantelle Sharketti was just 40 years old when she suffered a spontaneous coronary aortic dissection, a medical emergency that often causes sudden death, while she was at home with her three young children. There were no warning signs that her heart was about to fail.
Within a few minutes of arriving at UCHealth Memorial North in Colorado Springs, Chantelle was sedated, intubated and taken to the heart catheterization lab, where a cardiologist placed stents to open her arteries. From there, Chantelle was transported to UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, where she was put on ECMO, a type of life support that assists the heart and lungs. Later that night, Chantelle was transferred again – this time to UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus, where she was put on the transplant list for a heart.
The family prayed.
Three days after suffering coronary aortic dissection, Chantelle had a donor heart transplanted during surgery.
“Chantelle’s journey … is an incredible example of coordination of complex care across three different hospitals, but one UCHealth system,” said Dr. Jessica Yu Rove, the surgeon who performed Chantelle’s heart transplant.
Chantelle and her family are grateful to all those who had a role in her care and to her donor. “We are forever grateful to my donor, to my donor’s family,” Chantelle said. “They changed our life. We’re just so thankful.”