a woman in a heart tshirt leaps forward in a superhero pose, surrounded by shocks of electricity

Pretty Lady Chronicles: 392 Beats Per Minute Survivor (Part 3)

Editor's note: This is part 3 of a series. Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2!

I survived a heart rate of 392 bpm. The fact I was able to utter those words left me in a state of shock and disbelief. I was alive, but my sudden cardiac arrest event was far from over. My medical team was developing the best plan of action. They were diligently working to further sustain my life as I braced myself with each update. It was clear, the advancements in modern medicine were needed for one final save this morning.

Trauma and pain

Although my LVAD had gone beyond what I expected it to ever do, I couldn’t remain in my current state with a pulsating heart. With each second I was at risk of developing a blood clot in my heart. I was then given one option. I had to be placed on a ventilator to be shocked externally. This was going to be 10 times worse than the shocks I had already received, and I couldn’t be awake for this. This is the moment I lost it!

The fear and anxiety I felt consumed all of me! I cried and apologized to my son for the challenges he had faced due to my health obstacles. He began to reassure me that everything was ok and that I would make it. I then asked for a phone. This time I was calling to say my goodbyes. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t wake up. Being shocked repeatedly, I knew something was wrong further than what we could see at the moment. My team did their best to console me; while acting quickly to save me. I was placed on a ventilator, shocked one time by an external defibrillator, and my heart would start to beat on its own again. Although I was consumed in a state of trauma and convinced that I wouldn’t make it, I survived!

Life after SCA

My sudden cardiac arrest event began with a heart rate of 392 bpm. The entire run went 392, 387, 317, 274, 229, 293, 258, 258, 370, and 308. My internal defibrillator fired ten (10) electrical shocks to my heart within 1 minute and 39 seconds. I still get chills thinking about it simply because I’m here to share this story. I often describe my health events as obstacles or disruptions. SCA, or Sudden Cardiac Arrest, is caused by an electrical disturbance or disruption of its own; and usually occurs without warning.

Living through SCA can be traumatic, and often leads to anxiety and PTSD. Unfortunately, it's also a leading cause of death in the United States. I survived with the assistance of my LVAD, and internal defibrillator. However, a quick response with the use of CPR, or an external defibrillator can increase the chances of survival. So, what is SCA? What causes SCA? Can SCA be prevented? How is life after SCA?

As another month focused on SCA Awareness came to an end, this chronicle lives on. Surviving sudden cardiac arrest has led to a more purposeful life. I'm beyond grateful that I continue to thrive and survive which allows me to spread awareness of heart failure as a daily mission.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Heart-Failure.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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