Miyoko received a St. Jude Medical™ pacemaker in January 2008. She was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) during a life insurance health evaluation.
“Before that, I felt dizzy sometimes, but I did not think that it was caused by heart disease and thought that it was natural,” says Miyoko. “It is frightening getting used to such an illness.”
After two rounds of ablation did not work, her doctors implanted a pacemaker. (Implanting a pacemaker is considered minor surgery, but a small number of patients will develop complications because of the implant procedure. They may include infection, a reaction to a drug used during surgery or to the device itself and blood loss or damage to a blood vessel, the heart wall or other organs. These complications can usually be corrected or cured, but may require a repeat operation or a longer than normal hospital stay.)
Plenty of support
Miyoko’s physician and her family helped and supported her during the process.
“My husband, daughter and son came to the hospital every day,” she recalls. “Dr. Yamauchi also helped me. He cared about me, understood my anxiety and answered all of my questions.”
She encourages others who are considering a St. Jude Medical pacemaker to research, ask questions and share their concerns with their doctor.
“At first, I felt that I was OK without a pacemaker, that I decided to have a pacemaker too early,” she says. “I was discouraged because I became handicapped and had operative scar, but now I feel OK. My AF has not been completely cured, but I do not feel dizzy and have cardiac arrest now, so it was good for me to decide to have a pacemaker.”
Back on the tennis courts
Miyoko enjoys playing tennis. Three months after her procedure, she was permitted to begin exercising again.
“I would like to increase my exercise volume gradually so I can have a serious game with my friends,” she says.
While Miyoko must continue to take medication to manage her arrhythmia, she is confident that her pacemaker is keeping her healthy.
“The pacemaker provides me with a sense of safety,” she says. “I can have a daily life … drive my car, play tennis, etcetera. It is amazing.”