Dr. Samit Shah, Dr. Zachary Kon and Nanci Kurz. (Photo: Northwell Health)

Transplant patient and docs urge women to watch heart health

Eight months after her successful heart transplant, Nanci Kurz returned to Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at North Shore University Hospital joined by doctors and members of her transplant team to urge women to keep close watch on their cardiac health.

Kurz, a 55-year-old resident of Oakdale, began her journey to heart health four years ago when she suffered a major heart attack. Very active up until that fateful day, the last thing she remembered was coming home from a family dinner and collapsing as she entered her home in Feb. 2018.

Doctors told Kurz that she would require a new heart in order to regain her health and she was listed for transplant in Jan. 2019.

Dr. Zachary Kon, surgical director of Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation at SAB, recalled the phone call on June 11, 2021, that changed Kurz’s life. 

“We called her that morning to tell her that we had found that perfect heart,” said Dr. Kon. “Now, thanks to the transplant and the support of her loving family, Nanci is back to her old self. She runs about 11 miles a day on her treadmill and is planning to run in a half-marathon. Thanks to the support of her loving family and her determination, Nanci is a walking miracle.”

Kurz wanted to use the occasion of Women’s Heart Month to join forces with all the doctors, surgeons, nurses and transplant coordinators who brought her back to health. 

“I hope my presence here today will serve as a catalyst in urging women to keep a close watch on their cardiac health,” Kurz said. “I do consider myself to be a walking miracle – that’s true. That’s why I’m hoping everyone will listen to my story. Please don’t be afraid. Get regularly scheduled tests and screenings. It’s up to us to take care of ourselves.”

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