It was 1989 when 28-year-old Roberta Rapisardi turned to heart surgeon Ugolino Livi due to severe heart disease. A heart transplant is performed on her in Padua, Livi’s first in person. The surgery succeeds, Roberta is fine and after a few years she becomes a mother. To Benedettahis daughter, however, the same heart disease manifests itself. Today the young woman is 25 years old and in October she underwent the same surgery as her mother. Livi always operates on her: it was the last transplant of his career as director of Cardiac Surgery at Santa Maria della Misericordia in Udine.
When Roberta decides to have a child, she knows that heart disease may be at risk of genetic transmission, but decides to take the risk. Livi recounts that Roberta “came to give birth in Padua, she wanted the heart surgeon who had transplanted her nearby. Back then, there weren’t many women with heart transplants who had had children. Now it happens almost normally”. After a few years, however, the same disease of her mother manifests itself in Benedetta. Roberta looks again for Livi, who directs her to the specialized heart disease center directed by Giancarlo Sinagra in Trieste. Here Benedetta is followed for a long time but then, when the situation worsens, the young woman finds herself in the intensive care unit, where she remains for two months waiting for a compatible heart. “It wasn’t easy to find – explains Livi – her small build needed a small heart with particular characteristics. The opportunity has arrived and today Benedetta is a few weeks away from the transplant and she is doing very well”.
“Every morning when I get up – is Roberta’s testimony – instead of thinking ‘I have a transplant’ I think about living the day normally. All this helped Benedetta to face the fear of the operation”.
From November 1 Ugolino Liviformer director of Cardiac Surgery at the Santa Maria della Misericordia University Health Authority, he left the baton to his pupils.