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For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2015
Media Contact:
Tania Leets
Lisa Worley


Multidisciplinary team of UHealth physicians perform successful heart transplant at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

An assistant principal at M.A. Milam K-8 Center in Hialeah is recovering from a life-saving heart transplant after eight years of “buying time” through the full spectrum of comprehensive care before getting a transplant. Matthias Loebe, MD, PhD, and Nicholas Brozzi MD, transplant surgeons at UHealth – the University of Miami Health System –treated Erika Carter-Rolle at Jackson Memorial Hospital, restoring the life of this beloved educator.

Her troubles began late 2006 with a bad cold that wouldn’t go away. A few months later, in January 2007, Carter-Rolle, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy– a condition, in which the heart muscle becomes enlarged and weaker, and often leads to heart failure. Over the last eight years, she suffered a stroke, consecutively had Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs), more commonly known as “mini strokes”, had to stop driving and had a pacemaker implanted to resynchronize her heart rhythms.

“The pacemaker is a small device placed on her chest to help control irregularities in the heart rhythms,” said Dr. Loebe. “Patients receive this once heart failure is very advanced but it is only a temporary fix.”

While walking around school earlier this year in February, Carter-Rolle became fatigued. Struggling to breathe, she found herself praying that she could find the strength to walk back to her office. It was then that she realized more advanced care was needed. Soon after, her doctors told her she needed a heart transplant.

To help Carter-Rolle survive while she waited for a donor heart, UHealth cardiologist Dr. Sandra Chaparro, who had treated her at University of Miami Hospital, recommended they implant a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), a type of mechanical heart which helps the heart pump oxygen while she waited for a donor’s heart. Erika then relied on hospital staff and they soon became a family to her.

On October 30—the day Carter-Rolle calls her “second birthday” – UHealth transplant surgeons performed the four-hour successful heart transplant at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The Miami Transplant Institute at Jackson Memorial Hospital is the busiest, oldest and most experienced heart transplant program in South Florida. This year alone, the program has completed 17 heart transplants.

Carter-Rolle will share her moving story with media during a news conference Monday.


Dr. Erika Carter-Rolle, patient
Matthias Loebe, MD, PhD., UHealth surgeon
Nicholas Brozzi MD., UHealth surgeon
Sandra Chaparro, MD., UHealth cardiologist


Physicians and patient will describe her journey and recovery

When: November 23, 2015, 10:00 a.m.

Jackson Memorial Hospital
Ira C. Clark Diagnostic Treatment Center, room 252
Corner of Northwest 19th Street and 12th Avenue
Miami, FL 33136  

Editor's Note:

Media can park outside of DTC. Meet a representative from Jackson media relations outside of DTC at 9:45 a.m.

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Jackson Health System
1611 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136