La Crosse woman’s life changes after simple heart procedure

Carol Strittmater's was diagnosed with a heart arryhthima in 2012

La Crosse resident Carol Striytmater suffered from an irregular heartbeat for more than nine months. The condition caused her to faint and at first she didn’t even want to get looked at by doctors. But after numerous tests and checkups, doctors were able to help her and change her life.

Strittmater has always enjoyed a full life, but in 2012 her ability to live how she wanted changed.

“I was taking care of my little nephew and got him in his crib and down I went on the floor,” Strittmater said.

After passing out, she was rushed to the hospital. But basic testing didn’t show much. Months later, in January, she fainted again.

“I was not allowed to drive and that was the worst part, my family and friends were my chauffeurs,” Strittmater said.

Doctors at Mayo Health System fitted her with an implanted loop recorder that monitored her heart and tracked exactly was happening as she fainted.

“It was able to determine that I had an episode with my heart, my heart just stops,” Strittmater said.

Her doctors soon inserted a pacemaker to regulate her heartbeat and prevent another fainting episode.

“I had to stay overnight and that was it,” Strittmater said.

It was never determined what caused Stritmater’s heart beat irregularity. Experts said the condition is common though, and a number of things are to blame.

“Too much coffee, too much stress, unregulated blood pressure, and that are deeper inside like valvular heart disease where the valves,”  Dr. Charles Cagin said.

Stritmater said her life is now back to normal. She can spend more time with family, go on vacation and drive knowing that her pacemaker will take care of her.

“If I would faint the pacemaker won’t allow my heart to stop, it kicks in and my heart continues beating, so I’m pretty confident,” Strittmater said.

For more information on heart health and ways to stay healthy you can go to the American Heart Association’s website www.heart.org

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