Medicine: Stimulus for an Ailing Heart

Patches and pouches made from back muscle

Mary Jones, 46, knew she was in trouble early last year. "I was having problems going up the stairs," she remembers. "I would go up halfway and then stop and rest for a while or crawl up the rest of the way. Sometimes, just talking, I would be gasping for breath." So the Pittsburgh mother of two, whose history of coronary ailments includes two heart attacks, checked into the city's Allegheny General Hospital to have a bubble, or aneurysm, in her heart's left pumping chamber surgically excised and the tissue repaired.

The removal of a substantial part of the heart can...

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