Coping with your partner’s ICD and heart disease

by Carolyn Thomas

I could make out the rounded corners of the implanted device stretching through the thin white skin of Ann’s chest. I was shocked to see such a young, healthy-looking woman among our Heart To Heart survivors’ support group that night (we were vastly outnumbered by old men and their wives).  Ann (not her real name) was just 24 years old; her younger sister had recently died of sudden cardiac arrest due to a terrifying heart condition called Long QT Syndrome – a heart arrhythmia usually affecting otherwise healthy teenagers and young adults – whose first symptom is sudden loss of consciousness and, in far too many cases, death.

Because there is often a family connection, all of the surviving siblings in Ann’s family had to be tested to see if they too shared this deadly diagnosis. Her brother was fine, but Ann tested positive for Long QT, and so was immediately implanted with a life-saving cardiac device called an ICDContinue reading “Coping with your partner’s ICD and heart disease”

Is sudden cardiac arrest the same thing as a heart attack?

red heart on black

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

One of the reasons that I believed the Emergency physician who had misdiagnosed me with acid reflux during my heart attack was my very inaccurate perception of what a heart attack looks like.

I used to think that heart attacks happen mostly to men.  Old men.  Old fat men who are out-of-shape-chain smokers and heavy drinkers.  Old fat out-of-shape smoking drinking men who one day out on the golf course suddenly clutch their chests and keel over, unconscious.  CPR.  911. Ambulance sirens screaming. Paramedics. Defibrillator paddles. That’s a heart attack, right?

Wrong, my dear heart sisters. Continue reading “Is sudden cardiac arrest the same thing as a heart attack?”