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Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery Leads to Quick Recovery for Bartlesville Woman

When Leota Schlesier started experiencing symptoms that were out of the ordinary, she knew she needed to visit her primary care physician.

“My heart was racing, I had chest pains and shortness of breath,” said Schlesier. “I visited my primary care physician and he had me wear a heart monitor for 30 days. It didn’t show anything significant but he knew there was something going on because of my symptoms.”

Due to the fact that Schlesier had also had episodes of feeling faint, her primary care physician ordered a carotid artery ultrasound. “When I was leaving work on a few occasions, I had to stop before I even made it to my car because I thought I was going to pass out, which was very unusual for me,” said Schleiser.

The results from the ultrasound were normal so an echocardiogram was ordered, which showed a small mass in Schleiser’s left atrium. “My primary care physician knew I needed surgery because this could potentially cause a stroke, so he referred me to Dr. Allen Cheng, surgical director of advanced heart failure and mechanical circulatory support at Oklahoma Heart Institute, who specializes in minimally invasive procedures,” said Schleiser.

Dr. Cheng reviewed Schlesier’s case and determined that a minimally invasive procedure could be done to remove the mass. “Dr. Cheng was great from the start,” said Schlesier. “He explained everything to me very thoroughly and put my mind at ease.”

Schlesier underwent minimally invasive surgery in September of 2018, just one week after her initial visit with Dr. Cheng. “I’m so thankful I was able to undergo surgery without having my chest opened,” said Schlesier. “My recovery time was much shorter thanks to the minimally invasive surgery. I am doing very well now.”

Approximately six weeks after surgery, Schlesier returned to work. “Dr. Cheng knew that I didn’t want to spend a lot of time away from work,” said Schlesier. “I went back just before Thanksgiving which I thought was outstanding.”

As a grandmother of four, Schlesier was eager to be back to her usual self for the holiday season. “I want to be able to pick my grandkids up, play with them and make lasting memories,” said Schlesier. “Luckily, I was able to do just that.”

Schlesier’s daughter, who works in the research department at Oklahoma Heart Institute, is familiar with all of the doctors and was a great support throughout the process. “My daughter has been working in cardiology research since she graduated college, so she made me feel much more at ease with what was going on,” said Schlesier. “She also knew how great the doctors were which made me feel even better.”

Schlesier had nothing but great things to say about her experience at Oklahoma Heart Institute. “I loved Dr. Cheng and all of his nurses,” said Schlesier. “Everyone was very kind, informative and helpful and they take really great care of the patients.”