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Not My Average Heart Year

Friday, June 27, 2014

By Jennifer Gooden

Up until this point in my life, whenever I would go to my twice-a-year cardiology appointments, I would do and hear roughly the same thing. I would get my vitals, EKG, and echo done and then my doc would come in and chat with me and tell me things look “about the same” and that I should continue with my meds—and I would keep on trucking along. That was my average heart year.

Unfortunately, this isn’t my average heart year. I would say that I am having the worst heart year ever. In my last blog post I explained that I was admitted for the first time in more than 20 years. Well so far this year I have been admitted three times, have worn no fewer than five Holter monitors, plus a BP monitor, and have had my first cardiac ablation.

Atrial arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats from the top of my heart) have been the bane of my existence. Late this summer I go for what will be my last cardiac ablation. After this, if I continue to have arrhythmias, my EP doctor recommends getting a pacemaker placed.

Because of how they fixed heart more than 20 years ago, my doctor says I am at increased risk of both atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. Also because of this, it makes placing a ventricular lead for the pacemaker almost impossible the usual way, through the skin. So if the time comes, they can place just an atrial lead. Later, if I need the ventricular lead, I would need another operation.

Due to my unique anatomy, placing a ventricular lead would not only mean another surgery but means that I would need to have my chest re-opened. This obviously carries a lot of risk and has brought up a lot of scary talk.

I am trying not to worry because there are still time and other options, but it is hard! After so many years of good heart years I am not sure how to cope. How do you cope with less than ideal heart news? Do you have a pacemaker? How did placement of it go?

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The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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