Emily Williams, 31, was diagnosed with a slow heartbeat following a fainting spell at her home in February. After receiving an MRI-safe pacemaker at Western Baptist Hospital, Williams' quality of life has improved.
Emily Jaeger Williams’ husband, Jason, unknowingly diagnosed her slow heartbeat years ago.
“He would listen to my heart and say it was slow,” said Williams, 31, a customer service representative at Holland Medical.
Unfortunately, Williams didn’t know that diagnosis was medically accurate until she passed out at home in February.
“I’ve had a tendency to pass out ever since I was little,” she said. “At first, we thought I was hypoglycemic, but I wasn’t. Then I was diagnosed with panic attacks.”
Williams now believes her anxiety over fainting caused the panic attacks.
On Valentine’s Day morning, Williams was walking to her bedroom when she fainted and hit her head on the floor. Her husband, who was preparing to take their 6-year-old son, Nicholas, to school, called 911.
“I don’t remember collapsing,” she said. “My husband said I stopped breathing for 30 seconds. When I woke up, the paramedics were there.”
Williams was transported to the Western Baptist Emergency department, where she was diagnosed with a slow heartbeat. The next day, cardiologist Stephen Young implanted a MRI-safe pacemaker.
Williams doesn’t know if family history contributed to her slow heartbeat, because she was adopted from South Korea when she was 2. “Congenital problems with the electrical system of the body are sometimes hereditary and sometimes not,” Young said. “It is rare to have a slow heart rate at 31, but the condition that causes it is not rare.”
Williams has returned to work with a new peace of mind after the diagnosis and treatment. “It was affecting my daily life,” she said. “Now I feel normal. I don’t live in fear of that feeling anymore.”
For more information on heart conditions and treatments, see westernbaptist.com/heart, where you can take a free 5-minute heart risk assessment.