NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — There was a heartwarming reunion at one New Jersey hospital to celebrate National Hospital Week. It brought back some of the most seriously ill heart patients to discuss their life-saving procedures and say thanks to the doctors who performed them.

It was a celebration of life at Hackensack University Medical Center for five previously critical patients with failing hearts. They returned to meet the medical teams that save their lives.

Consuelo Carrillo, 71, was suffering from rheumatic heart disease. Her heart was failing. Doctors implanted an Impella device that allowed her heart to rest while they repaired her diseased organ.

This was the first opportunity these patients have had to meet their caregivers since leaving the hospital. Carlo Mercado, 54, embraced his doctor with a hug. He thought he had indigestion but went into cardiac arrest. He owes his life to medical technology and the doctors who helped him to survive.

Mercado loves to show photos of himself exercising to prove he’s back to his old self and thankful to be alive.

So is Julio Figueroa. He thought he had pneumonia, but doctors determined he had a heart attack. They performed bypass surgery and supported him on the Impella device for 22 days.

Sam Selvam, 50, is another survivor who returned to thank the nurses and other caregivers who looked after him during his recovery from cardiogenic shock.

“When I came in you guys put me on my feet and you wheeled me in as a patient and wheeled me out well again,” Selvam told a group of nurses.

These patients beat the odds in a nation where heart disease is the No. 1 killer. They have been given a second chance thanks to state-of-the-art medical devices and the excellent care of medical teams to whom they had an opportunity to give a heartfelt thank you.