My name is Marla Levy and I owe my life to Dr. Scot Merrick, Chief of Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery at UCSF.
My story begins in Southern California when I was 21 and diagnosed with a congenital heart defect: supravalvular aortic stenosis or SVAS.
SVAS develops before birth and causes narrowing of the aorta, the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
At age 27, I had my first open heart surgery. My aorta was replaced with a human valve, and when doctors couldn’t get my heart to start after the procedure, I received an emergency right coronary bypass.[...]