Shanna is a busy mother of five beautiful children and married to a very successful surgeon. She always lived a very healthy fast paced life with a very balanced diet. Although she knew there were some issues of heart attacks and stroke in her family, she didn’t worry about her heart health. She never imagined that after the birth of her fifth baby, she would be diagnosed with such a rare heart condition.
Shanna’s pregnancy with her fifth child, baby girl Madeline, was different than her previous four. She knew something was wrong and switched obstetricians 32 weeks into her pregnancy. Her high-risk obstetrician diagnosed her with HELLP and preeclampsia and delivered her daughter prematurely. During the delivery, she encountered several complications including severe blood loss. Nevertheless, after a few days at the hospital, her doctor let her go home. There she juggled home life with four kids and care for Madeline in the NICU. She felt constant fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling. At first, she attributed these symptoms to her busy lifestyle and thought she would feel better; however, she did not.
One evening, Shanna remembers sobbing and telling her husband that she needed serious help. He thought it was anxiety since Shanna had so much on her plate. Then, she talked to one of her friends who is a doctor and she described all her symptoms. Her friend did not think anxiety caused her symptoms and advised her to see a cardiologist.
Shanna took her friend's advice and scheduled an appointment with a cardiologist. At the appointment, Shanna became shocked when the EKG showed that she was in complete heart failure and that she had Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM). "Cardiology wasn't even in my mind. I think I thought I was immune to it because I'm young and I'm healthy," says Shanna.
PPCM is a very rare condition where the heart chambers enlarge and the heart muscle weakens. It typically develops towards the end of a pregnancy and can be very difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are very similar to those of the third trimester. If Shanna's friend would not have advised her to see a cardiologist, she is not sure what her outcome would have been. Upon her diagnosis, Shanna had two procedures and now takes medications. While virtually schooling her children, she had a seizure. She immediately contacted her electrophysiologist who prescribed her the BodyGuardian® MINI for seven days.
Shanna was so happy with how tiny and light the device was; she hardly noticed she was wearing it. “I could have worn it for months because I did not even know I was wearing the monitor,” says Shanna. She was able to go about her daily routines and walk around the neighborhood with her kids. She was also able to pick them up and care for them with no issues. The MINI's long battery life impressed her. She did not need to need to charge it once during her monitoring journey which was very convenient. "I woke up one night because I thought the battery had died and the monitor had stopped recording but sure enough the device still had battery and was still going," says Shanna.
Shanna is a firm believer that as a patient you are able to make choices about your own care. "I just believe in perseverance and I think you have to do everything you can to advocate for your health and fight for yourself," says Shanna. In her Facebook group, she sees how PPCM affects women from all ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses and different walks of life.
"I want to tell women that no one is immune to heart problems. All of this happened to me while being married to a physician and he didn't recognize any of my symptoms. It just shows how women have to take care of themselves and take care of each other from a health perspective," shares Shanna.
Caution: U.S. Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician.
The patient testimonial above relates an account of an individual’s experience to remote monitoring technology and services. The account is genuine, typical and documented. However, this patient’s experience does not provide any indication, guide, warranty or guarantee as to the experience other people may have. The experience other individuals have could be different and do vary. Not every response is the same.