Lisa Visser


Orono, Minnesota, U.S.

Medical Condition: Sudden cardiac arrest due to a heart defect 
Medical Therapy: Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
Charity: Temple Israel's Committee to End Homelessness

Lisa suffered a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at the age of 26, leading to a diagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, a congenital heart defect. She now has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to treat future SCA episodes. Grateful for the extra life she receives, she has volunteered time helping various organizations for the homeless in Minnesota.


"I have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to combat arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), a congenital heart defect. ARVD is a rare form of cardiomyopathy in which the heart muscle of the right ventricle is replaced by fat and/or fibrous tissue, causing the right ventricle to be dilated and contract poorly. As a result, the ability of the heart to pump blood is usually weakened.

“Patients with ARVD often have abnormal heart rhythms, which can increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest, and death. I suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 26. I was hospitalized, diagnosed with ARVD and provided with an ICD. This was a life-changing event for me.

“So many people contributed to saving my life that, 15 years later, my ‘thank you's’ do not end. Experiencing firsthand how quickly life can be taken away, I personally accepted my own challenge of doing what I can to give back to those who need help.

“I have used my extra life to advocate for the Minneapolis homeless community. That includes organizing the “United to End Homelessness” event. In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature allocated approximately $60 million in funding for homeless initiatives. In 2014, that dollar figure increased to more than $100 million. Funding in both years was influenced by the Unite to End Homelessness event, which provides an opportunity for the community to work toward improving advocacy skills to push for policy change.”


“Work hard at creating goodness.”


The Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness (DCEH) is an interfaith collaboration of 13 downtown Minneapolis churches, synagogues and mosques working together to end homelessness and poverty. DCEH focuses on shifting from an immediate-needs approach to long-term solutions through a combination of education, advocacy and action.


Not everyone who receives this therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story. Talk with your doctor to determine if this type of therapy is right for you. Please refer to Important Safety Information.