Weathering the Storm
Hi I am Josie, I am new to this site. Let me explain what occurred. In late 2015, I started having fainting spells. The spells would occur and then resolve with no obvious reason for the loss of consciousness. Starting in March 2017 the spells began to inexplicably escalate. I am cared for at the Cedar Sinai Electrophysiology Department and Advanced Heart Failure Unit for Chronic AFIb and Cardiomyopathy with CHF. Knowing my husband and I had plans to depart for a long RV trip in late March one of my doctors recommended that a loop recorder be implanted in order to catch what was happening during the fainting spells. The recorder was implanted on a Friday. On Sunday I experienced another fainting spell.
This time the episode was caught by the loop recorder. The device revealed that I was experiencing V-Tach episodes. An ambulance was sent to our home and I was transported to Cedar Sinai in Beverly Hills. The ride to Cedar’s was uneventful enough. However, within a few hours after arriving at Cedar Sinai I went into what was referred to as a "Cardiac Storm" or "V-Tach Storm”. Essentially, the heart went into V-Tach and would not come out of it. Medications and 5 attempts at cardioversion failed. I was placed on a ventilator and heavy sedation which did manage to quiet the heart. Otherwise, every attempt to move me or in any way touch me resulted in waves of V-Tach. My family was called and told that I had taken a bad turn and though they would do everything possible to bring me out of danger there was a real possibility I would not survive. I remained under sedation for several days in an effort to allow my heart to get strong enough to handle the procedures necessary to bring me out of the situation. 1st they needed to determine what caused the Storm and secondly the best sequence of events to follow which would minimize repeated V-Tach episodes
My family tells me each day was like an episode from “House”. A team of cardiologist would come to my room, they would discuss the latest test results and make recommendations on how to proceed. Changes were made to medications or additional testing performed and the whole process of brainstorming would happen again in the evening or the next morning. Eventually, after a week or so of heavy sedation with only a few V-Tach events they believed I was at the point where they could perform a couple of EPS studies to determine the originating sites of the V-Tach. Two ablation procedures were performed with satisfactory results followed by a pacemaker and a defibrillator.
I was released last Saturday from the hospital. All together I was in the hospital for two weeks. Most of that in ICU. It is amazing stepping back into my life after almost leaving it. Hopefully, we will be back on the road again traveling in our RV. My husband and I now have a new saying. We do not know what tomorrow may bring but, today is a beautiful day.