For about 15 years, Lloyd’s friends and family thought he was clumsy. Each spring, he seemed to have an unusual accident. There was the time he tumbled down the basement stairs and needed 14 stitches. Once he fell off a ladder and broke four ribs. Another time he hit the ground while removing a screen from his truck.
Without symptoms, Lloyd was never aware that a syncope episode was coming on so he couldn’t get himself to a safe place before passing out.
In 1997, Lloyd’s doctor suspected he had epilepsy and started him on medications. A reaction to the drugs sent Lloyd to the hospital for several weeks. Sceptical of the epilepsy diagnosis, his doctor ordered a stress test that revealed coronary artery disease. He had a stent procedure in 1997 and thought he would be fine. Unfortunately, the following spring he had another episode.
His doctors were baffled.
For years, Lloyd continued to be concerned in the spring that he would have an episode. An active grandfather, he worried that he would be with his grandchildren when something happened.
Then, in May 2010, Lloyd was working at his computer. The next thing he knew, he was lying on the floor. He couldn’t talk and he could barely move. He had a cervical fracture in his neck that caused swelling. Fortunately, his spinal cord was not permanently damaged.
His doctors ordered a series of tests on Lloyd’s heart, but they provided no insight into what was causing the fainting. One of his doctors suggested that a Medtronic Reveal® Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM) be placed next to Lloyd’s breastbone. The device automatically records the heart rhythms for up to three years.
Lloyd wanted to find out what was causing the episodes, so he was not nervous about having the Reveal ICM placed. He did not experience any complications from the implant procedure. However, all surgical procedures carry some risk.
Lloyd had the Reveal ICM for 18 months. During that time, he went on a spring fishing trip to the Jersey Shore with his friends. One afternoon, he stumbled in the boat and went to sleep. His friends thought he had been drinking. Weeks later when Lloyd’s doctor downloaded the Reveal ICM data, Lloyd’s heart activity during that episode was captured. The data showed sinus arrest activity. Lloyd’s heart had stopped and then resumed.
Lloyd had a pacemaker placed to prevent sinus arrest from happening to him again. He is back to playing with his grandchildren, and doesn’t worry anymore about fainting. He believes it is important to share information about fainting episodes with your doctor immediately after they happen.
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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