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Heart Specialty Center

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, even women.

Jenn Potts
Barnhart

As a nurse at St. Anthony’s Medical Center for 19 years, I’ve calmly and confidently handled hundreds of medical emergencies. But when I faced a sudden cardiac emergency of my own, on a morning in October 2010, I was in complete denial. I was healthy, took no medication and had no family history of heart disease. Yet here I was, gasping for air, and so dizzy I had to sit on the floor.

The dizziness went away, as did a second episode. I mentioned my experience to my co-workers, who urged me to get an EKG. I was too busy to take their advice. A few days later, on a Sunday afternoon, I was driving with my husband when I suffered sudden cardiac arrest. I slumped over the seat; my lips were blue and I wasn’t breathing. My husband called 911 and the paramedics took me to St. Anthony’s Emergency Department, where my heart was shocked back into rhythm. I was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia, a condition in which the bottom chambers of the heart beat irregularly and too fast, and the top chambers can’t keep up.

Cardiologist William Wright, M.D. implanted a defibrillator in my chest, and electrophysiologist/cardiologist Greg Botteron, M.D., performed an ablation procedure to prevent recurrence of the arrhythmia. During my stay, my co-workers in the Emergency Department took turns sitting by my bedside in the ICU each night.

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, even women. If you experience even one episode of extreme dizziness, see a doctor. And I can’t say enough about the doctors and staff at St. Anthony’s: I have an awesome group of co-workers. I am so fortunate—I count my blessings every day.

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