“You’re young, healthy, thin – and nothing’s wrong with your heart”

Elissa and her family
              Elissa and her family

Elissa is a busy 32-year old professional violinist, a mother of three, and a violin teacher who also teaches part-time at her local university. Last year, the northern Utah resident began experiencing unusual symptoms that seemed to be heart-related: chest pain, shortness of breath and crushing fatigue.

These symptoms were so alarming that she knew she needed to seek medical help. See if you can spot the red flag as she tells her story . . .

Continue reading ““You’re young, healthy, thin – and nothing’s wrong with your heart””

Diagnosed with what? Brugada Syndrome?!

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Alicia Burns“A lot of people ask me how I knew something wasn’t quite right with my heart. It’s hard to answer, because I’ve suffered with palpitations and chest pain for years, but they didn’t concern any of the cardiologists I saw.”

In fact, Alicia Burns’ doctors didn’t get concerned for 14 years, despite many consultations and tests for her distressing and ongoing symptoms.

Alicia, now a 34-year old mother of five children, tells the harrowing story of the moment she first heard the words Brugada syndromeContinue reading “Diagnosed with what? Brugada Syndrome?!”

What prevents heart disease “better than any drug”?


by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

It doesn’t come in a pill bottle, nor is it supported by multi-million dollar marketing campaigns. It’s affordable, and often even completely free. It has few if any harmful side effects. It’s appropriate for both young and old alike. And just like the fistful of  cardiac medications I now take every day since my own heart attack, I keep careful track of it (as evidenced by the stickers on my exercise calendar). It is exercise.

And it helps to prevent heart disease “better than any drug”, says Mario Mitkov of the University of California at Davis.   Continue reading “What prevents heart disease “better than any drug”?”

Do you know the difference between a pacemaker and an implantable defibrillator?

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

Before surviving a heart attack, I knew virtually nothing about pacemakers (they were just something that old people have to get, right?) and absolutely nothing about the cardiac device called implantable cardioverter defibrillators, or ICDs. 

In fact, the first time I laid eyes on a person with an ICD was at my 7-week Heart To Heart cardiac support group after I was discharged from hospital. 

One of the people in my group was a lovely, athletic 24-year old woman who had been diagnosed with a rare and serious heart arrhythmia called Long QT Syndrome.* Her sister had recently died suddenly due to the same condition.

Continue reading “Do you know the difference between a pacemaker and an implantable defibrillator?”