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American Falls woman battles rare heart condition after giving birth


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Photo and video courtesy KPVI

AMERICAN FALLS (KPVI) – It’s the call no husband wants to get – the call where you’re told that your wife is dying.

Brandon Klassen vividly remembers the day he got that call from Dr. Jacob DeLaRosa at Portneuf Medical Center about six weeks ago.

“The substance of the call was, ‘Your wife is dying and she needs this life-saving surgery to save her,’ Klassen says. “Everything is … getting worse in my life … so my whole world came crashing down at that moment.”

Brandon’s wife, Bridget Klassen, had been experiencing chest pains but because she had given birth to a new baby about five months prior, the American Falls couple thought nothing of it.

But Bridget’s symptoms continued to get worse and she was rushed to Portneuf Medical Center.

Paramedics initially told her she had a heart attack. Later, doctors discovered Bridget was actually suffering from a rare heart condition called Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, a condition DeLaRosa says causes the arteries in the heart to spontaneously tear.

“We really don’t know the reason why it happens but we know there’s certain indications when it does,” DeLaRosa says.

Those certain indications include women under age 50 with no history of heart problems having a heart attack after recently giving birth.

DeLaRosa was able to perform open-heart surgery on Bridget, which saved her life. She’s been out of surgery for about six weeks now and is expected to make a full recovery.

She told KPVI her kids have been her biggest motivation throughout the recovery process.

“Kids are the motivator and kids are the goal,” she said. “I want to be able to pick up my babies again – absolutely. That’s the hardest part and my biggest goal.”

DeLaRosa says any woman under the age of 50 with no prior heart disease, who begins to suffer from chest pains, should immediately seek medical attention.