KOMU: Centralia woman celebrates two years with new heart, advocates for change

August 2, 2019

This month, a mid-Missouri woman is celebrating two years with a new heart after her transplant at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute. But many other Missourians are still waiting for a life-saving organ donation. 

MaryAnn Holsinger, 74, from Centralia had a heart attack as she was getting ready to play golf with her friends near the Lake of the Ozarks. Another hospital put two stents in her heart, but it wasn't enough. About a month later, doctors said her heart was failing and recommended she go to Saint Luke's for a transplant.

"Eight days later, from when I first arrived there, they had me on the list, I got the heart," MaryAnn said. 

Saint Luke's average wait time for a heart transplant is much less than the national average of a year. Nationwide, about 20 people die every day waiting for a donation.

"There are not enough donors for the number of people who need transplants, so unfortunately, every year people pass away without ever receiving the precious gift," said Dr. Andrew Kao, Medical Director of Heart Transplantation."

Watch KOMU's full story below.

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Andrew C Kao, MD

Cardiology, Advanced Heart Failure/Transplant Cardiology