Last August, The Suwanee Democrat, a small time Florida news provider printed an incredible story about a woman named April Pinkard. She’s a 35-year-old wife and mother of four who has suffered from a never before documented “floating heart” condition. The treatment for her condition may also be the first of its kind.
In 2005, while undergoing a routine exam, something strange occurred. Ms. Pinkard recalls the situation saying, “he listened to my heartbeat one day and it just wasn’t there.” Closer medical investigation revealed that her heart had shifted to another area of her body.
At birth, Pinkard suffered from lung disease, requiring doctors to remove one of her lungs at age 4. Apparently, this condition opened up enough space to mobilize Ms. Pinkard’s heart over the course of 30-some years. The “misplaced heart” was now posing a threat to her life and making her ill.
Pinkard’s doctor referred her to surgeons at the Jacksonville Mayo Clinic, where an interesting solution was formed. They gave her breast implants, but not in any conventional, aesthetic sense. They are intended to keep her heart positioned correctly, by preventing float. Light heartedly, she describes the feeling, “you can hear it move. If I push on my chest you can feel the squishes.”
Ms. Pinkard still faces the possibility of a lung transplant later in life, as well as other health challenges, but she has a very positive outlook. With such forward-thinking medical professionals, such as those on April’s side, maybe we can all share in her hope and high spirits.