As they did on most Sunday mornings, ReJeana Squyres and her husband Bryce joined others in worship and praise at Cross Creek Cowboy Church in Atlanta, Texas on Aug. 26, 2018. However, this particular Sunday veered far off the expected path following the service, when ReJeana suddenly and quietly fainted in the front passenger seat of their car.
“After church, we were on our way to pick up my mother, Betty, to take her to lunch — probably at Catfish King,” ReJeana explained. “We were about a block from mother’s house when I passed out. Bryce didn’t even realize what happened at first.”
ReJeana was transported to CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital-Atlanta, where her heart stopped beating three different times before the physicians and staff could stabilize her enough for her to be transported to CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System in Texarkana by Air Life.
“They couldn’t have done a better job in Atlanta to stabilize my wife,” Bryce said. “I was very impressed – they were quick, efficient, and thorough. They knew what they were doing, and we certainly made the right decision in going to CHRISTUS St. Michael in Atlanta first.”
With her heart out of rhythm, ReJeana was whisked straight to the region’s only Electrophysiology (EP) Lab at CHRISTUS St. Michael, where cardiologist Dr. Megan Do and the EP lab team awaited her arrival. Her heart stopped beating two more times before a temporary pacemaker was placed in an effort to keep her rhythm in check and bradyarrhythmia (slow heart rate) managed until a permanent solution could be identified.
Dr. Do consulted Kevin Hayes, M.D, CHRISTUS St. Michael EP Lab Medical Director and the area’s only cardiac electrophysiologist, who determined ReJeana was a great candidate for the miniaturized Micra™ transcatheter pacing system, or TPS. Produced by the biomedical engineering company Medtronic, Micra™ is the world’s smallest pacemaker (about the size of a vitamin pill) and does not require the use of leads, according to Medtronic Data.
“Dr. Hayes showed us the Micra™ pacemaker and a standard pacemaker and explained the benefits,” said ReJeana. “We decided to go with the Micra™, and I was awake when Dr. Hayes implanted the pacemaker. The procedure was fast, less invasive, and I really didn’t experience any discomfort.”
“I felt better almost immediately, and I can’t even tell the pacemaker is there,” she shared. “I didn’t know what to expect – I was dreading the procedure. But it was just a matter of a small incision at the groin, and I am excited to know that such a small device can help make sure my heart beats as it should.”
“The physicians and staff here at CHRISTUS St. Michael are superb,” added Bryce. “They are very impressive with their knowledge and expertise, and everyone is very caring. There’s no doubt in our minds that when you need heart care, St. Michael is the place to go.” ReJeana and Bryce feel “blessed” the advanced technology of the Micra™ pacemaker, the EP Lab, and Dr. Hayes are available for residents with heart issues in the Texarkana region.
Both now retired, the couple seizes every opportunity to follow their hearts by “spoiling” their grandchildren, Jackson and Jenna. The Squyres also enjoy traveling to various venues to hear their son, Zach, perform with a country gospel band and enjoy the time they are able to spend with Zach and his wife, Jennifer.
Micra™ Vs. Bradyarrhythmia
When your heart beats too slowly, a condition known as bradyarrhythmia, you may experience various symptoms. These symptoms, including dizziness, fainting, chronic lack of energy and shortness of breath, can help your doctor assess the severity of your heart condition and determine the appropriate treatment for you, according to Dr. Hayes.
In situations like ReJeana’s, Texarkana area residents now have the opportunity to be treated using the Micra™ miniaturized transcatheter pacing system under the direction of the region’s only cardiac electrophysiologist without the need to travel to a larger city.
Medtronic describes the Micra™ as a device engineered for a minimally invasive approach and completely self-contained within the heart with no leads required. The Micra is 93% smaller than modern-day pacemakers.
According to Medtronic, Micra™ patient experience benefits include:
- No chest scar
- No bump
- No visible or physical reminder of a pacemaker under the skin
- Fewer post-implant activity restrictions.
What’s Your Real Heart Age?
Even if you aren’t aware of any heart issues, the sooner you take care of your heart, the longer it will take care of you. Whether you’re young, old or somewhere in the middle, our free heart age assessment measures your real heart age, so you’ll know where your heart health really stands. Try it today to learn more about your heart health and steps you can take to improve it. Go to MyRealHeartAge.com and take your free risk assessment.