Gail’s Story Fainting (Unexplained)
Gail was working part time as a pulmonary rehabilitation specialist and full time as a respiratory therapist. While helping a patient one day, she felt intense pressure in her head. As she moved toward a chair to sit down, she fainted. When she woke up, she was surrounded by people and a doctor was taking her blood pressure. Unable to get her blood pressure down by having Gail stand and sit, the doctor called an ambulance.
At the hospital, a series of tests were run and the results were normal. Gail’s head felt foggy but she was eager to get out of the hospital. After 24 hours she was discharged.
At home, initially Gail thought she was doing well. But after three days, her head still felt foggy and she experienced the sensation of an electrical current down the left side of her body. Her heart rate increased, then decreased. Days later, when she felt an alarming heart rhythm, Gail went to her cardiologist. She was given a Holter monitor, but it didn’t detect any cardiac events. In need of more information, her cardiologist sent Gail for an MRI of her brain and a CT angiogram.
The results of the MRI and CT angiogram showed that Gail had three transient ischemic attacks – or mini strokes – during the time that she felt the electrical current down her left side.
Still in need of more information about what was happening with her heart, Gail’s doctor ordered a electrophysiology study to examine its electrical activity and pathways. When she arrived for the study, the electrophysiologist told Gail that he recommended she have a Medtronic Reveal® Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM) placed.
The Reveal ICM is an implanted device that records the heart’s activity automatically or by pressing a button on the Patient Assistant. The Reveal ICM can monitor abnormal heart rhythms for up to three years. Results are sent directly to your doctor’s office or reviewed during an in-office visit.
Gail was nervous to have the Reveal ICM placed, so she was surprised when the procedure was simple. After she had it placed, Gail and her husband went out for lunch. She did not experience any complications from the implant procedure. However, all surgical procedures carry some risk.
Gail had the Reveal ICM for four weeks. During that time, she went to her doctor’s office five times to have the device downloaded. After analyzing the Reveal ICM data, Gail’s cardiologist determined that she had symptomatic bradycardia. She received a pacemaker in May 2011 and has not had any further episodes.
Gail is back working as a respiratory therapist. She quit her job as a pulmonary rehabilitation specialist so she could spend more time enjoying life with her husband. She encourages others to taking fainting seriously and to not delay getting help.
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This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.
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