Jessica's Story: Diagnosed by Chance

Updated:Oct 25,2012

Arrhythmia Personal Story Photo In April 2007, I went to the dentist to have my wisdom teeth removed. Shortly before the procedure my oral surgeon noticed that my heart rate was abnormal and suggested that I see my doctor to get it checked. Finally, two months later I went to my primary care physician to follow up on my oral surgeon's suggestion.

My doctor didn't seem too concerned but ordered a 24 hour holter monitor for me, just in case. I wore the monitor over the weekend and didn't expect to hear from my doctor for a couple weeks. The next day driving into work my cell phone rang. It was my doctor telling me that the cardiologist that read the monitor needed to see me immediately. I remember feeling nervous and scared as we walked into the cardiologist's office. There he explained to my husband and I that what he saw on my holter monitor is what makes young people drop dead. I looked over at my husband Jeff, my eyes welling up in tears.

My cardiologist immediately put me on Toprol and ordered several tests to find the problem. After all the tests were complete, I was diagnosed with sustained ventricular tachycardia and mitral valve prolapse. My cardiologist explained what my options were, I could stay on the Toprol for the rest of my life or I could go forward with a procedure called cardiac catheter ablation. After careful consideration with my husband, we decided to do the ablation.

On July 18, 2007 I checked into a hospital in Boston for what I thought would be a 2-3 hour procedure. I thought that I may even be allowed to go home that same day! Unfortunately all did not go as planned, after doing several burns on my heart to correct the problem it returned during the surgery. My electrophysiologist was not giving up and after 7 hours on the table they were able to correct my condition.

Recovery was difficult, it was painful to walk because the catheters were in my leg for so long and I developed in an infection in the puncture site. Although it was tough, I wouldn't have done anything different. I am off the Toprol and have not had any instances of tachycardia since my recovery. The mitral valve prolapse is not of concern to my doctors at this stage in my life; it is just something we will watch as I get older.

Even a year later it is still very surreal when I think about my story. I never once thought I had any health issues but that is part of the major problem with these types of heart conditions. My advice to anyone would be to listen to your body, don't ignore symptoms. Following up with your doctor could save your life.


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