hc mag teen cardiac

Teen cardiac patient Blake Brunner receives cardiac rehabilitation treatment at Cambridge Medical Center.

Patient story

Teens can need cardiac rehab, too

Last spring 17-year-old Blake Brunner was rushed to Cambridge Medical Center. Previously a healthy, active teenager with no history of heart problems, over the next year Brunner received a pacemaker and implanted pump to keep his heart beating, becoming a lifelong cardiac patient.

Brunner was treated alongside patients his grandparents' age. "There are always the older people," Brunner said. "And they'll look at me like 'What the heck?' One time one guy said to me, 'You're too young to be here.'" It is unusual when a teenager becomes a cardiac patient. Or is it?

Brunner's cardiologist, David Feldman, MD, of Minneapolis Heart Institute®, says younger cardiac patients are not as unusual as we think. "Certainly, the majority of patients tend to be older," said Feldman, "but increasingly we have younger, robust patients like Brunner. There is a misconception that heart disease does not affect the young, but this is a lethal disease which is rampant in the United States, and an increasing number of young people do have heart disease."

Today Brunner is doing well and on track to graduate with his classmates.

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