CSOA's Knowledge Network

FEBRUARY is HEART HEALTH MONTH

 

Since she was 17, Mary had been having episodes of passing out.  It was thought these episodes were related to her hypoglycemia and stress. Years later Mary almost passed out while driving her son to baseball practice. This near crisis convinced Mary that she had to get more answers.

During a cardiac function test, the doctor determined that Mary's heart had stopped for 22 seconds. Mary learned that she had a condition called Neurocardiogenic Syncope, Mary's fainting was due to the brain signaling the heart rate to drop which in turn caused her blood pressure to drop.  Fortunately for Mary after having a pacemaker implanted the fainting stopped.

During Mary's son's baseball game another mother, Lisa, began telling Mary how she had recently began fainting and always felt out of breath. Lisa's doctor did an electrocardiogram (EKG), which showed something wasn't right. After a referral to a cardiologist, Lisa learned that she needed a pacemaker. Lisa explained to Mary that she was only 40 and was too young to need a pacemaker.

Mary shared with Lisa the fear she and her family experienced during her hospitalization when she received the news that she would need a pacemaker. Although it was a very scary experience, Mary explained that getting the pacemaker had given her peace of mind, helping her to live a more full, healthier life. By the time the baseball game was over, Lisa was at peace and ready to get a pacemaker.

Lisa scheduled the surgery for less than a week later. During the procedure, the surgeon made a significant discovery. The top half of Lisa's heart was no longer working and the bottom half wasn't far behind.  Afterward, the surgeon explained to Lisa that if she had not opted to have the surgery, she would have most likely died from heart failure within six months.

Lisa's quality of life is now very good. She feels much better and has no limitations on the things that she wants to do. When Mary sees Lisa at the baseball games, Lisa beams with gratitude and reminds Mary that she is her angel! Mary is thankful to have been able to help Lisa, and they both freely share their stories with others in hopes of preventing what could have been a tragedy in the lives of two young families.

 

DID YOU KNOW: The American Heart Association recommends that regular cardiovascular screening tests begin at age 20?

 

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