Heartfelt Hope: A Young Mom's New Lease on Life


(NewsUSA) - When faced with a life-threatening heart condition, the right medical device and treatment plan can mean the difference between life and death. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Despite this, only 44% of American women recognize that heart disease is their number one killer, and research shows they continue to be undertreated compared to men.

Choosing Aurora EV-ICD: A Life-Saving Treatment

At just 27 years old, Annie Gates, a mother of three from Miller, South Dakota, found herself struggling with shortness of breath, exhaustion, and the inability to keep up – all symptoms she associated with trying to keep up with her young family. Her journey to receiving care for an underlying heart condition began with subtle but concerning symptoms that quickly escalated into severe episodes of rapid heartbeats, sometimes reaching 250-260 beats per minute – more than triple that of a normal heartbeat.

A particularly severe episode, lasting five minutes, was a critical turning point for Annie. With the nearest medical care more than two hours away, she struggled to remain conscious. As she watched the heart rate numbers on her smartwatch climb, she began to lose her vision and had a sinking feeling this was different. Her husband quickly realized the severity of her condition. In those terrifying moments, Annie recalls feeling like she might die.

Previous medical evaluations were inconclusive, but a pharmacist’s advice led her to seek a second opinion, a decision that likely saved her life. Annie was subsequently diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a rare genetic condition that causes irregular heartbeats. This diagnosis not only explained her symptoms but also shed light on a family history of unexplained cardiac incidents.

Now that she had a diagnosis, she could look ahead to what her options were to ensure these near-death episodes wouldn’t happen again.

Living with Confidence and Hope

Luckily, Annie’s diagnosis was met with a new cutting-edge solution – the Aurora EV-ICD™ (Extravascular Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator). ICDs are highly effective in providing life-saving therapy for patients at risk of ventricular tachycardia (VT) or sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). An ICD continuously checks the heartbeat and delivers painless pacing pulses or high-energy shocks to restore a normal heart rhythm. This device offered not just a safeguard against VT, or rapid heartbeat, but a return to her previous quality of life. After her doctor explained the advantages of the EV-ICD compared to traditional ICDs, Annie knew it was the device she wanted given her age and that she would need the protection of ICDs for the rest of her life. The Aurora EV-ICD is implanted in a discreet location below her left armpit that Annie barely notices, fitting comfortably under her sports bra without irritation, and without any wires touching her heart – important factors for Annie. Today, the Aurora EV-ICD gives her – and her family – a sense of normalcy and peace of mind.

With the Aurora EV-ICD “standing watch,” Annie lives with renewed confidence and fewer fears. She continues to engage in daily activities like horse riding and rodeo, running her family’s ranch, and enjoying a revitalized lease on life with enough energy to play with her kids. The Aurora EV-ICD continuously monitors her condition and transmits data to her doctors, ensuring she remains under vigilant care. Her story is a powerful testament to survival, self-advocacy, and the impact of cutting-edge medical technology.

A Message of Persistence and Innovation

Annie’s experience underscores the critical importance of persistence in seeking answers to health questions and challenges, and the transformative impact of medical technology. In sharing her story, she hopes it helps others get the medical answers for whatever they’re experiencing. Her journey with the Aurora EV-ICD offers hope and inspiration, highlighting the courage required to advocate for oneself in the healthcare journey and the life-saving potential of innovative medical solutions.

Learn more at www.medtronic.com/EVICD.


Image caption: Trey and Annie Gates