Vito Tunzi, The Healing Heart

Vito first went into cardiac arrest fourteen years ago. The doctors were able to save his life but explained that Vito has a condition called non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy.  He has been struggling with the disease ever since.  This genetic disease has enlarged Vito’s heart and prevents it from being able to pump efficiently. In addition, the disease produces scar tissue in the heart and causes abnormal and life-threatening heart rhythms. Vito has had many life-saving surgeries including a pacemaker, an internal defibrillator placement, ablations, cardioversions, a sympathectomy, and an open heart surgery.

Since the diagnosis, Vito has had to take various medications to help his heart pump more effectively and to try to prevent the life-threatening arrhythmias. With strong faith and prayers, along with the medical knowledge of the wonderful doctors, Vito has managed to live with this condition.

Unfortunately, over the past couple of months, he has had worsening heart failure symptoms, scar tissue and life threatening arrhythmias (ventricular tachycardia) as the disease has progressed to end-stage heart failure. The doctors have determined that Vito’s heart has weakened to the point where surgeries and medication can’t help him and he now needs a heart transplant. Vito’s ejection fraction is only 10% (a healthy heart’s ejection fraction is about 55-65%). Because it’s so low, Vito is very weak and unable to walk without getting out of breath.

On June 26, Vito went into the hospital with heart failure symptoms consisting of fluid building up in his lungs, extremities, and stomach which caused the inability to breath, productive coughing, vomiting, the inability to eat, and exhaustion. As mentioned above, this was due to the inability of his heart to pump his blood effectively.

Vito has now been in the hospital for a month and is unable to go home until he gets a new heart. He is of the highest status possible for the transplant list in the region. As one might expect, Vito has been unable to work as he is too sick to leave the hospital. When a person gets sick, bills continue to come. The doctors anticipate that the wait for a new heart could be until fall and Vito will remain in the hospital at Johns Hopkins until one becomes available.

After the transplant, Vito will be in the hospital for about 2 weeks and then will need a couple of months of recovery at home. Vito will feel better once he receives the new heart but will have to take about 20 pills a day for the rest of his life and will still need to come to Johns Hopkins Hospital for follow up appointments.

As anyone who knows Vito could tell you, Vito is not the type of person who likes to ask for help. In fact, he is the one known for always helping others in his family, the church, and the community. He is a good-hearted person who has worked hard all of his life and plans to continue working when he is able. Vito is greatly loved by his wife, Cherie Tunzi and his sons, Joshua, Justin, and Jordan Tunzi.

Please donate to help Vito during his time of need. Anything is appreciated to help pay for medical expenses and basic living expenses while he is in the hospital and unable to work.

For more information on the heart and the transplant process visit:


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Organizer and beneficiary

Cheryl Williams 
Manchester, MD
Vito Tunzi 
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