Apr 8
Thompsonjosie5 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

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.    

  • AHA Volunteer Moderator Michael C
    AHA Volunteer Moderator Michael C,
    HI, Josie, and welcome to the support network. My, what a great story of survival! I know we're all glad you're here to write about it. It's another one of those stories that makes you feel glad to have made it through. We love them. Have they given you a long term prognosis? It sounds as though they have things under control and that you're doing well. I love your saying. I figure every day I can see the green side of the grass is a beautiful day. keep in touch and let us know how you're doing. the ups and the downs, which I hope there are no downs. Please feel free to express your feelings, as we've all been through things, so we'll understand. Have a fun and safe RVing journey and don't be a stranger. Take care. For all your new friends here, Mike
  • Lace
    God Blessing Always thank you Sameing your story
  • mingo1
    Hello... I had a heart attack in 1993 and three months later, a defibrillator/pacemaker. I was in the hospital for a week and did not have to have any procedures as my LAD was "kinked" and they could not unblock it. With all my other arteries ok, I was sent home and had some VFIB while in rehab and thus the ICD. I have had many shocks, but none after my fourth ablation two years ago. It does take time for ablations to really work unless one is very lucky. I do just about everything now and really have done so since that eventful day. Hang in there and LIVE STRONG/
  • Sownman
    Glad you are OK. I had CHF and cardiomyopathy for 31 years starting in 1984. I had ICD IMPLANTED IN 2004. Got my first VTAC from which I died and was shocked back In 2014. It happened again 60 plus times in the next 10 months. I was hospitalized 8 got 2 ablation and a symphectomy which cut nerves to.my heart trying to stop the VTAC storms Nothing worked and I was becoming immune to the anti Arrythmia drugs. My way out was a transplant which happened 10 months ago. I hope you don't have to go that but if you do, it works and it is easier than living with VTAC. Best of luck
  • AHAASAKatie
    Thank you for sharing this with us! Best, Katie
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