Patient Stories-Cynthia

Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in the United States.

I am not a statistic.
“I was diagnosed with intestinal gastritis, but tests showed that I had suffered a heart attack. My doctors implanted stents and an ICD. Now I feel great. I’m able to go shopping for bargains again. My name is Cynthia, and I’m a hard working single mom of two boys.”

Cynthia’s Story

Stents and ICD return working mother to her sons

In July 2005, Cynthia, a 38-year-old mother of two boys, thought she had food poisoning. She’d been feeling nauseous and vomiting for days, and had chills that felt bone-deep. At the hospital, test results showed that she had suffered a heart attack. “I asked the doctor if he was sure he had the right person because I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. I didn’t go into the hospital for any kind of heart problems,” she says.

That same night, Cynthia’s doctor performed angioplasty to open blockages in the arteries of her heart. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, of George Washington University Hospital, threaded a slender tube called a catheter into the blood vessels that were dangerously narrowed. He implanted small cylindrical devices called stents to keep those arteries open, allowing blood to flow freely.

Later Cynthia was also treated for an irregular heartbeat, by another GW cardiologist, Dr. Cynthia M. Tracy. Dr. Tracy implanted a credit card-sized device called an ICD in Cynthia’s chest to monitor the rhythm of her heartbeats. If the ICD detects an alarming change in Cynthia’s heartbeat, it administers a shock to help bring the heart back into a safer rhythm and prevent a potentially fatal condition called sudden cardiac arrest. “The ICD doesn’t bother me at all,” says Cynthia. “Most of the time I forget it’s even there.”

Following both procedures, Cynthia was out of the hospital and back to her usual routines in very short order. “I’m still active in my church, busy with my sons, and out searching the stores for good bargains,” she says.