United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Alicia Ann Colville, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying her claims for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) under the provisions
of Title II of the Social Security Act (Act). In this
judicial review, the Court must determine whether there is
substantial evidence in the administrative record to support
the Commissioner's decision. See 42 U.S.C.
protectively filed her current application for DIB on May 21,
2014, alleging an inability to work since May 31, 2013, due
to congestive heart failure (CHF) or cardiac problems, memory
problems, sleep problems, headaches, knee problems, back
pain, dyslexia, and depression. (Tr. 220, 253). For DIB
purposes, Plaintiff maintained insured status through
December 31, 2018. (Tr. 18). An administrative hearing was
held on July 30, 2015, at which Plaintiff appeared with
counsel and testified. (Tr. 49-98).
written decision dated January 27, 2016, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. (Tr. 18).
Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: congestive heart failure and chronic
diastolic heart failure with a history of aortic valve
replacement, recurrent right patellofemoral instability,
right patellofemoral joint osteoarthritis and right lateral
meniscus tear status post-surgery, obesity, headaches,
insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and depression. (Tr. 18).
However, after reviewing all of the evidence presented, the
ALJ determined that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet
or equal the level of severity of any impairment listed in
the Listing of Impairments found in Appendix I, Subpart P,
Regulation No. 4. (Tr. 18). The ALJ found Plaintiff retained
the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
perform the full range of sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR
404.1567(a) except the claimant cannot climb, can
occasionally balance and stoop, and cannot kneel, crouch or
crawl. She must avoid concentrated exposure to temperature
extremes, noise, fumes, odors, dusts, gases, poor ventilation
and hazards. She is able to perform work where interpersonal
contact is incidental to the work performed; tasks are no
more complex than those learned and performed by rote, with
few variables and little use of judgment; and the supervision
required is simple, direct and concrete.
(Tr. 20). With the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff could perform work as a toy stuffer,
tile table worker, and eyeglass frame polisher. (Tr. 26).
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which denied that request on December 19,
2016. (Tr. 1-3). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action.
(Doc. 1). Both parties have filed appeal briefs, and the case
is before the undersigned for report and recommendation.
(Docs. 11, 12).
Court has reviewed the entire transcript. The complete set of
facts and arguments are presented in the parties' briefs,
and are repeated here only to the extent necessary.
time of the administrative hearing held on July 30, 2015,
Plaintiff was forty years of age and had a limited education.
(Tr. 53-54). Plaintiff obtained a certified nursing assistant
certificate. (Tr. 55). Plaintiff's past relevant work
consisted of working as a purchasing agent, inventory clerk,
receptionist, and file clerk. (Tr. 57-63, 93, 230-232).
review of the pertinent medical evidence reflects the
following. On February 21, 2012, Plaintiff underwent an
echocardiogram (EKG) and moderate to severe aortic
regurgitation was noted. (Tr. 562-565).
March 23, 2012, Plaintiff underwent a left heart
catheterization, and the results yielded a referral for
aortic valve replacement surgery. (Tr. 376-379, 546-549).
Normal coronary arteries were observed. (Tr. 377).
April 9, 2012, Plaintiff presented herself to Northwest
Medical Center and complained of heart palpitations and
worsening chest pain, shortness of breath, and a 30-pound
weight gain over the past three to four months. (Tr. 306-307,
540-541). An EKG revealed moderate to severe aortic
regurgitation and an ejection fraction of 50-55 percent.
Plaintiff was diagnosed with palpitations and congestive
heart failure. (Tr. 307). On the same day, Plaintiff
underwent an aortic valve replacement with a mechanical
valve. (Tr. 309-310, 312-313, 538-539). Plaintiff was
discharged after four days. (Tr. 309-310, 536).
April 24, 2012, Plaintiff returned to Northwest Medical
Center complaining of dizziness and shortness of breath. (Tr.
304-305, 530-531). An EKG showed cardiac tamponade and
pericarditis. (Tr. 304-305, 558-561). Plaintiff underwent an
immediate pericardial drain placement to relieve the
symptoms. (Tr. 311, 535). It was reported that she
experienced immediate relief. Plaintiff remained in the
hospital for five days. (Tr. 311). On April 29, 2012, Dr.
Robert Jaggers, M.D. and Dr. James Counce, M.D. removed the
drain, and they noted she returned to sinus rhythm. (Tr. 308,
5, 2012, Plaintiff presented herself to the emergency
department of Northwest Medical Center and was admitted to
the hospital. (Tr. 373-374, 384-387, 532-533, 554-557). She
complained of chest and neck pain, orthopnea, and headache.
(Tr. 373). An EKG showed mild pericardial effusion and no
tamponade. (Tr. 374). A head computed tomography (CT) scan
showed no acute intracranial abnormality. (Tr. 374). On May
8, 2012, Plaintiff was discharged after she reported feeling
better without chest tightness or dyspnea. (Tr. 374).
30, 2012, Plaintiff presented herself to Dr. Jose
Loyo-Molina, M.D., a cardiologist, for a three-week follow up
visit after her most recent hospital stay. (Tr. 368-371).
Plaintiff reported that she felt better, but continued
experiencing palpitations and left-sided pain with shallow
breathing. (Tr. 368, 371). Dr. Loyo-Molina diagnosed her with
aortic valve replacement, congestive heart failure, and she
remained at functional class II. (Tr. 371).
15, 2012, Dr. Mandu Kalyan, M.D. conducted a sleep study and
diagnosed Plaintiff with mild obstructive sleep apnea
syndrome with an overall index of 7.2. (Tr. 478-479). Dr.
Kalyan recommended a continuous positive airway pressure
(CPAP) titration study, supervised weight loss, treatment of
restless legs syndrome or periodic limb movements, and
evaluation of insomnia etiologies. (Tr. 479).
August 27, 2012, Plaintiff presented herself to Dr. Kalyan
for a CPAP device follow up visit. (Tr. 471-476). Plaintiff
was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, mild obesity,
rapid eye movement (REM) behavior disorder, history of aortic
valve disorder, and nicotine dependence. (Tr. 475). Dr.
Kalyan encouraged compliance with CPAP device use. (Tr. 475).
November 27, 2012, Plaintiff presented herself to Dr.
Loyo-Molina for a six-month follow up visit. (Tr. 364-367).
Plaintiff reported that she felt much better and had
recovered strength. (Tr. 364). She complained of chest pain
that relieves on its own, shortness of breath, palpitations,
and dizziness. (Tr. 364). Dr. Loyo-Molina found her chest
pain was atypical. (Tr. 366). Plaintiff was ordered to
undergo an EKG and pulmonary function test (PFT). (Tr. 366).
December 4, 2012, an EKG was conducted. (Tr. 360-363,
380-383, 550-553). The EKG revealed mild (stage 1) left
ventricular diastolic dysfunction. (Tr. 362). The remainder
of the results showed normal global and regional left
ventricular systolic function; trace mitral regurgitation;
and a normally functioning mechanical prosthetic valve in the
aorta. (Tr. 362). Dr. Loyo-Molina noted Plaintiff's
congestive heart failure remained at functional class II.
April 23, 2013, Dr. Loyo-Molina noted that Plaintiff
underwent a hysterectomy on March 14, 2013, and she returned
for a follow up visit to check her prothrombin time with
international normalized ration (PT/INR) after Coumadin was
discontinued for surgery. (Tr. 356-359). Plaintiff's INR
during the visit was 3.5. (Tr. 356). Plaintiff admitted to
smoking one pack of cigarettes daily since she was 20 years
old. (Tr. 357). Dr. Loyo-Molina diagnosed her with status
post aortic valve replacement, congestive heart failure,
status post hysterectomy, aortic valve disorder, mild mitral
regurgitation, and status post emergent pericardiocentesis
due to tamponade and cardiogenic shock. (Tr. 358). No
medication changes were suggested. (Tr. 358).
medical evidence continues after the alleged onset date of
May 31, 2013. On June 30, 2013, Dr. Kalyan found
Plaintiff's obstructive sleep apnea was improving. (Tr.
511). Dr. ...