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"Deadly Heart Failure Often Misdiagnosed as Asthma Attack" - Lauren Steussy

  • New York Post
  • New York, NY
  • (June 03, 2019)

For years, Frances Negron-Santiago had taken medication for her asthma diagnosis. She thought it was strange that the drugs didn’t seem to be working — to the point where, two years ago, she could hardly walk a city block without stopping to catch her breath. Negron-Santiago was actually experiencing heart failure — a gradual weakening of the heart’s ability to pump blood to the body’s organs. And although doctors caught the misdiagnosis during a physical and eventually gave her a pacemaker at the end of 2017, the mistake could have killed her if it had gone on much longer. “Heart failure can be a fatal condition if it’s not treated,” says Dr. Maya Barghash, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai and Negron-Santiago’s doctor. Asthma symptoms can look a lot like heart failure: Both can manifest with shortness of breath and wheezing. But there are some key differences that doctors should be looking for, Barghash says. “I feel like I’m able to do a little more…and I’m happy to be alive,” says Negron-Santiago, who is undergoing cardiac rehab to gain some heart strength back. “I’m a fighter.”

— Maya Barghash, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Cardiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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Additional coverage: The Sun