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Kelli’s Story

Fainting (Unexplained)

After a long day outside on a hot day in May, Kelli became dizzy and fainted. When she came to, she assumed she was dehydrated from spending hours in the sun. She drank an energy drink and thought nothing more of the event.

Two weeks later, while driving away from the hospital where she worked as a student nurse anaesthetist, Kelli felt the same feeling in her chest that she felt prior to fainting. Her chest suddenly felt very still, a warm sensation came across her chest, and she heard a loud rushing noise in her ears. Then she passed out.

Kelli made an appointment to see a cardiologist at the hospital where she worked. Two tests – an ECG and an ECHO – both were normal. No further treatment was recommended.

Within a few days of testing that showed normal results, Kelli began having near-syncopal events. She would get dizzy but didn’t pass out. Her cardiologist had Kelli wear an external heart monitor, which she kept on most of the summer. The monitor didn’t detect any events and Kelli didn’t faint during this time.

In November, Kelli’s doctor referred her to a neurologist who ordered an EEG and an MRI. Both were normal. It wasn’t until one evening in January, while Kelli was in bed, that she felt the sensation in her chest and then fainted.

The following day, Kelli saw her cardiologist. He said he wanted to monitor her heart activity with the Reveal® Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM). Unlike the external monitor Kelli had worn all summer, the Reveal ICM is an implanted device that records the heart’s activity automatically or by pressing a button on the Patient Assistant. Results can be sent directly to your doctor’s office or reviewed during an in-office visit.

Kelli was nervous about having the device implanted. But she was frustrated because she didn’t know why she was fainting, and she wanted answers. The procedure was easier than Kelli imagined. She did not experience any complications from the implant procedure. However, all surgical procedures carry some risk. After the procedure, Kelli developed an allergy to the sutures and bandage at the incision site and had delayed healing.

A month after the Reveal ICM was placed, her doctor downloaded data from the device. It showed that her episodes were caused by significant bradycardia and asystole with complete heart block. Her doctor told her she needed a pacemaker, and she received one within a week.

Kelli credits the Reveal ICM with saving her life. Without it, she wonders if her heart condition would ever have been diagnosed. Kelli is back to living a full life. She recently moved to a new part of the country, has graduated, is working as a nurse anaesthetist, and is expecting a baby. She has not fainted since receiving her pacemaker.

This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.