"I grew up believing that if people faint, they are weak," described Leslie, 34, a former Mrs. America. "So, after I fainted, I would get right back up and keep on going."
It wasn't until her sister had a near-death experience that Leslie began taking her own health, and her fainting spells, seriously. Leslie's sister Cheri collapsed over her steering wheel while driving two of her children to school. Fortunately, a neighbour following behind her knew CPR and restored her heartbeat.
The next day, Cheri was diagnosed with a fast arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, called ventricular tachycardia. These arrhythmias may be the cause of most sudden cardiac arrests in the United States.
Six weeks later, just as the family was recovering from the fear of losing Cheri, Leslie fainted while shopping. This time, Leslie decided to get her fainting spells checked out. Neither Leslie nor her three sisters, all in their 30s, could forget that their 8 aunts and grandmother died of unexplained reasons while in their 40s.
To prevent history from repeating itself, Leslie’s doctor suggested several tests. While some of the tests gave the doctors clues, none gave an answer of what was causing Leslie's fainting. As a final measure to rule in or rule out a heart rhythm problem, Leslie's doctor implanted a Medtronic Reveal® Insertable Cardiac Monitor just under the skin on the left side of her upper chest. The Reveal would capture her heart rhythms if she fainted again.
Not long after the Reveal cardiac monitor was inserted, Leslie fainted in her yard. Her husband, Merv, was there to place the Reveal Patient Assistant, a small hand-held activator, over her cardiac monitor. The Patient Assistant triggers the cardiac monitor to record her heart rhythms before, during, and after her fainting spell. Shortly thereafter, she went to her doctor so her heart record could be analyzed.
To Leslie's relief, the results showed that her fainting was not due to an abnormal heart rhythm, and she didn't need a defibrillator like her sister. Instead, her doctor prescribed one medicine to control her heart rate and one to increase her blood volume.
It's been a year since Leslie last fainted. "I'm so grateful for the knowledge that Reveal has 'revealed,''' exclaimed Leslie. "It gave me a clear-cut conclusion."
Data on file.
This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.