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Coronary Bypass Surgery Patient Celebrates Her 102nd Birthday

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Cecilia Zarobila celebrating her 102nd birthday

Cecilia Zarobila of Cleveland celebrated her 102nd birthday with the physician and medical team who have helped keep her alive and well for so long.

Just before she turned 80, Cecilia began experiencing severe shortness of breath. Her cardiologist, Michel Farah, MD, of University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, diagnosed her with congestive heart failure. An ultrasound showed a very weak heart, which was not pumping blood throughout her body successfully. A cardiac catheterization revealed that two major coronary arteries were completely blocked and other branches had severe disease.

On April 27, 2001, at the age of 79, Cecilia underwent quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery. The next few weeks were touch and go for her. Her chest was kept open for several days to help stabilize her. Cecilia had an abnormal heart rhythm and was on a respirator for 17 days. But with excellent postoperative care, she recovered, and her heart strengthened.

“Traditionally, younger patients fare better after bypass surgery, but Cecilia would not be alive today if we hadn’t completed hers at age 79,” said Dr. Farah. “It has been a joy to follow her health for more than two decades and to see her come into my office happy and healthy.”

Cecilia turned 102 in December 2023. During her cardiology appointment that month at UH Minoff Health Center, Dr. Farah and team surprised Cecilia with a small celebration. Dr. Farah continues to treat Cecilia for hypertension, high cholesterol and aortic valve disease.

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