Justin's journey and silver linings

Nov 24, 2021 | Jennifer O'Hara | @jenohara

At the age of 15, Justin Vigile was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition that causes the muscles of the heart to thicken, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood. Vigile had a cardiac defibrillator placed, but over time, his heart began to fail.

When looking for answers and help, Vigile and his family turned to Mayo Clinic. Thanks to science, research and an innovative procedure performed by the man who developed it, Justin got his life back.

At Mayo, Dr. Hartzell Schaff, a cardiovascular surgeon, gave Vigile an alternative to heart transplant in the form of apical myectomy, a surgical procedure to relieve symptoms caused by the thickening of muscle in the apex of his heart.

It's a procedure that Dr. Schaff developed at Mayo Clinic in 1996. Vigile feels grateful for the surgery and the surgeon.

"Dr. Schaff changed my life, which is obvious. But it also changed the lives of my friends and family. I was able to meet the woman that I fell in love with. I've been able to pursue my dreams." Those dreams include writing music for NFL films and becoming a podcaster.

Now, almost 10 years later, Vigile and Dr. Schaff reunite on the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast. Also on the program, Justin's podcast partner, Darrell Campbell, joins the conversation to talk about the Everyman Podcast and how they've found silver linings along the way.

To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used. For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Read the full transcript.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Connect with others living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, talking about surgery and recovery, and supporting one another in the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) support group.

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