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Jessica Gray’s Story

Irregular Heart Beat Survivor, Age 26, Elkton, MD

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Jessica's Story

In October of 2012, I had the scariest experience of my life.  I was getting out of the shower, and after drying myself off, I threw the towel on the ground and wiped up the water that had gotten on the floor.  When I stood up, all of the sudden it felt like I had two hands in my chest squeezing my heart like it was going to explode.  I walked up the steps, and tried some deep breathing techniques, thinking it would help and it did nothing.  I then went to my blood pressure cuff to take a reading, and it kept saying ERROR.  I work in the health field, so I grabbed a manual one, and started to listen for myself, and as soon as I did, I told my mom that we needed to go to the ER right away.  When we got checked in they took me back immediately.  As soon as I got into triage, the yelled that they needed a room and a wheelchair right away, and that my pulse was 215!  They put me into a room with every monitor there is on me, even the defibrillator.  They stopped my heart twice with Adenosine, and when that didn’t work, they gave me Amiodarone through the IV.  Just when they thought they were going to have to use the defibrillator (shock me), my heart rate shot down to 120.  They did a chest xray, CT scan, echo and blood work, and found that I have idiopathic ventricular tachycardia.  They said that I was lucky my heart was healthy, otherwise it wouldn’t have handled what happened.  I stayed at the hospital for a little over a day, and then I was released.  Currently I am fine, and I take a beta blocker every day to try to keep my heart rate normal.  It was a scary experience, however I know why I have had the feelings in my chest and the symptoms I have experienced in the past, that all of my physicians blamed on anxiety and never looked into further.  I also know that somehow my hormones some into play with this since I experience this more around my menstrual cycle.  I can still do everything that I normally do, and I feel great.  I just have to take my medication and be aware that this can happen at any time, but hopefully it won’t.  My electrophysiologist would like to do a catheter ablation (burn the cells in my heart causing the tachycardia), but I am going to weigh my options and hold off for now.  The medication seems to suppress things, and I rarely have episodes.  I wanted to share this because even if your doctor says so, it may not always be anxiety.  Mine turned out to be a heart condition.

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Jessica is interested in giving and receiving support from other women with heart disease. Contact her if you'd like to give and receive support.

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