Strong Woman. Strong Heart.

By Bristol Health

October 22, 2019

When Linda Murdock, 81, of Southington, first met her cardiologist, Liran Blum, MD, at Bristol Health, she wasn’t concerned about her heart. She was just trying to get medical clearance for another medical test she needed. But to her surprise, it was her heart that needed more attention.

“I never dreamed my shortness of breath was a problem with my heart,” says Murdock. “I always thought my living on the second floor and climbing the outside stairs were the cause of my shortness of breath.”

Dr. Blum called for an echocardiogram, which showed that Murdock’s heart was very weak and that she had a "floppy" mitral valve, causing mitral valve regurgitation. She started the cardiac rehabilitation program at Bristol Health to strengthen her heart before open heart surgery, making the surgery safer for her.

During each cardiac rehabilitation class, Murdock exercised under the supervision of cardiac nurses who kept track of her progress. From warm-ups to time on the treadmill or bikes, the rehabilitation was designed to get her heart pumping safely.

“I always felt secure with the exercising, and it was nice experience meeting others that were in the same boat as me,” says Murdock. “The classes were helpful and when it came time for my surgery, I graduated with a much higher ejection fraction, which is the amount of blood pumped with each beat of the heart.”

After she completed her cardiac rehabilitation, Murdock underwent mitral valve replacement surgery. The procedure went well, and she returned to cardiac rehabilitation again to ensure her heart recovered well.

“The staff at Bristol Health was very attentive to my questions about my recovery,” says Murdock. “Dr. Blum's assistant was always prompt with return calls to me and was a very positive presence to my feeling better. I felt completely at ease, knowing that there were other very qualified Bristol Health cardiologists working with Dr. Blum, in case I couldn't reach him.”

Now, three years after her heart surgery, Murdock’s heart is doing well. She still undergoes regular echocardiograms with Dr. Blum and focuses on maintaining a low-sodium diet.

“I'll always be grateful for the care I received at rehab, as well as the care I receive from Dr. Blum and his associates,” says Murdock.