By CHRIS AGEE
A local woman is grateful to her doctor and his embrace of a new medical technology without which she said she would not be alive.
The day after Connie Glover received a LifeVest, which detects and treats irregular heartbeats, she experienced two cardiac events and was revived both times by the wearable device.
Internist and Cardiovascular Disease Specialist Dr. Jagadish Puppala recently diagnosed Glover with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy after treating her for shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat and other health problems.
He said an electrocardiogram showed Glover suffered from very poor heart function, explaining a weak heart combined with her arrhythmia could result in sudden cardiac death.
According to Puppala, medical advancements have paved the way for a variety of mechanisms with which doctors and patients can monitor heart activity, though one in particular offers a unique benefit to those with Glover's condition.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved LifeVest not only detects arrhythmia, Puppala said, it is able to warn patients before automatically applying a gel and delivering a lifesaving shock.
Glover said she was asleep the night following her first use of the vest, noting her husband heard a loud warning during the evening warning of an impending shock.
She was not conscious during the event, she said, but was revived after the defibrillation.
After being released from the hospital early that morning, Glover said she began feeling odd around 7:30 a.m., explaining her sister later told her she appeared to be having a seizure.
Her irregular heartbeat was once again corrected by the LifeVest's shock and she has since undergone surgery to implant a permanent pacemaker for her heart.
Glover explained she spent a significant amount of time in the hospital prior to receiving the LifeVest, though she reported being in much better health now.
"I feel like a new person," she said, adding she plans to return to work next month.