I'm new to the board and was curious to see if there are others out there who have survived a cardiac arrest. On April 9, my mom, a 58 year old woman, went out on a jog. Right before she got to the start of her trail, she bent over. Fortunately another woman was on the road and asked if she was ok. She said she felt dizzy and then collapsed. The woman called 911 immediately and began CPR. The medics got there within 3 minutes and continued CPR for 15 minutes and administered 7 shocks before her heart went back into a synus rythm. Turns out she has a very rare and underdiagnosed condition called Brugada syndrome. She has had problems with AFib for years and had been on a drug called Flecainide, which is one of the drugs you definitely do not want to be on if you have Brugada.
Anyway, she received a defibrillator and was released about a week later and my family and I have been taking turns being with her at all times. Her short term memory has been affected, but it's getting better everyday. Over the last week, however, we've had a couple set backs. She went back into the hospital for a few days after complaining of light headedness, heaviness in the chest, tingling warmth in the arms, etc. Everything checked out (she's always taken excellent care of herself) and the doctors attributed this to severe anxiety. They took her off the Quiniglute she was on since her arrest to see if that would help the lightheadedness. She seemed to be doing better, but a day and a half after getting out of the hospital, she went into Afib. About 15 minutes later, her defibrillator started shocking her. Again, we had a trip to the hospital and now she's on Digoxin and Dilacor, and they'll probably need to reset her defibrillator.
Apparently extreme anxiety is common in people who have survived such an event. Further, we were told it is common for people with defibrillators to get inappropriate shocks until they get the settings right. The doctors never warned us of this which chaps my hide a bit, but that's another story. It's just been such an emotional time, and I'm reaching out to see if anyone has experience or knowledge of such things?
I'm sorry to hear about your mom but I'm glad to hear she is in excellent care. Two thanksgivings ago my father had a heart attack. He was the same age as your mom actually. I was devestated when I found out and it was even harder to see him in the hospital with all the tubes looking so fragile and helpless. Thankfully he was in excellent care, had an angiogram and was out almost a week later. I know he is extremely worried about something like this happening again (his father had a massive heart attack and it runs in the family) but he never lets it show. He is exercising and trying to eat healthier and sees a nutritionist a couple times a month. I'm so thankful that he has such wonderful doctors. It sounds like your mother has the same. Take care and keep me posted.
I can't speak from experience on the inappropriate shocks, the couple of jolts that I had were enough for me (thanks, but no thanks on more
My problem was different than your mother's (mine was due to plaque buildup/rupture which led to the heart tissue damage/MI at age 35).
Anyway, what I can tell you about is the anxiety. Yes, it's normal for survivors to have this. I did read that 95% of all survivors do suffer some form of anxiety or another.
For the first 6 months, I was anxious to the point of making two additional trips to the ER because I thought I felt angina again. It turns out I was wrong. After the 2nd of those, my GP suggested that I try PaxilCR. I gave it a go for 3 days and I was crawling up the walls on that the third night, feeling more anxiety than ever. That was the end of the Paxil. A few days later, I went into the GP and thanked him for the Paxil because now I understand what anxiety is really like.
Since then, my attitude is that we all go one day and there is just no point in getting worked up about it--my time will come. In the mean time, I am going to do the best I can, run every day, eat well and do those things I can to prolong life. For whatever reason, that short episode of Paxil got me over the hump. I can't say that I have experienced any related anxiety (or even unrelated) for the past 3 years, since that point.
Last edited by CobaltBlue; 05-18-2005 at 10:46 AM.
I was one of the lucky ones who actually was diagnosed with heart blockage before I had a heart attack. The fact that I didn't have a heart attack doesn't make the anxiety any better. I still went through the procedure of a stent and then when the stent failed I had to have emergency heart bypass. I was 41 when this happened to me so I had to deal with wondering why me at such a young age. I too have some short term memory loss. It makes me uneasy because when I see my memory failing it makes me wonder if alzheimers will eventually be my fate. The anxiety level is much better for me now. It has been over 3 years since my bypass so life goes on and I try to take care of myself and hopefully prevent another cardiac incident.
Thank you all for your replies. Even if the stories aren't the same, it's nice to know that people actually do get through these types of things and live full lives.
By the way, thought I'd share an article from my mom's local paper about getting AEDs in police cars. They're popping up everywhere which is a very good thing. She and my brother are quoted. http://www.marinij.com/Stories/0,1413,234~24407~2875848,00.html