Glenna Maxwell Find a Location Find a Doctor Heart & Vascular Arrhythmia Center Diagnostic Testing Treatments/Procedures Cardiology Minimally Invasive Procedures Heart Attack Care Clinical Research Diagnostic Services Heart & Lung Surgery Heart Disease Treatment Lung & Airway Disease Treatment Other Services Cardiac Rehab Heart Failure Center Patient Success Stories Prevention & Wellness CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit Freshstart Hands-only CPR Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips My Heart Rocks Take Time For Your Heart Women Take Heart Valve Center Treatments Your Hospital Stay Care After Heart Surgery Intensive Care for Heart Conditions Nurses with Heart Care Expertise Partners in Heart Care Transitional Care Units Fixing a Hole in Her Heart Gave Glenna a New Lease on Life On the night before her 40th birthday bash, Glenna Maxwell got a call she’ll never forget. It was her cardiologist, Dr. P. Gregory Houlihan with the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute. He told her to take it easy during the celebration and that she was lucky to be alive; she had a heart defect and it needed to be repaired right away. Glenna, a sonographer who does prenatal ultrasounds at St. Elizabeth Edgewood, couldn’t believe her ears. The information came as a shock, but it also explained many of the symptoms that had sent her to see her primary care doctor, who referred her to Dr. Houlihan after talking with Glenna and running tests. “I felt weak and had shortness of breath,” Glenna recalled. “My ankles were swollen and I was having some chest pains. I also felt tired all the time and would sleep most of the weekend, even though I coughed a lot and could only sleep on one side.” When Glenna met with Dr. Houlihan to review her heart tests, he told her she had been born with an atrial septal defect (ASD). He explained that the top flap of her heart hadn’t sealed properly after she was born, leaving a hole in the wall that separates the top two chambers of her heart. Dr. Houlihan told Glenna she would need an atrial septal repair procedure to fix it, a minimally invasive treatment performed by his partner, Dr. Kevin Miller with the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute. The next week, Dr. Miller repaired the hole in Glenna’s heart by implanting a high-tech closure device called a septal occluder into her heart. This minimally invasive catheter procedure was performed in one of St. Elizabeth’s cath labs and took an hour to complete. “Dr. Houlihan is great,” Glenna said, “and Dr. Miller is amazing. He performed my heart procedure perfectly and also did a wonderful job reassuring me and my family that everything was going to be okay.” Glenna spent one night in the Transitional Care Unit (TCU) and was back to work in just one week. Now fully recovered, Glenna said she feels great. She can breathe better, no longer has persistent migraines and sleeps regularly. She works out a lot, plays with her dogs and loves spending time with her husband restoring vintage cars. Glenna is also back at work doing ultrasounds for expectant mothers. “I definitely spend more time looking at babies’ hearts now,” Glenna said. “It’s a more personal connection; I want to give mothers information that my mom didn’t have because the technology didn’t exist.” Cardiology Services at St. Elizabeth For additional information about cardiology services at the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute, click here.