Friday, September 29, 2006

Interesting Day

Well, the Adorable Husband has been in (and back out) of the hospital today -- and been zapped twice to get his heart rate back into order.

He went out walking on Friday at lunchtime and by the time he was heading home, still felt "odd". When he tried to check his pulse, it was very, very irregular (think synocopated) and he still felt as if he'd just finished a bout of exercise -- kind of short-of-breath, kind of wobbly. He headed back into work and ran an EKG on himself (benefit of working in the cath lab) and promptly walked upstairs to the cardiologists office.

He was having a bout of Atrial Fibrillation -- basically the atria (upper chambers of the heart) stop beating properly and just sort of quiver instead of staying in synch with the rest of the heartbeat, so it doesn't pump effectively. His pulse ran up to about 120-140 and hung out there, beating irregularly. More info here at medicinenet and another from a patient's FAQ.

Anyway, they sent him HOME! With a beta-blocker to see if it would resolve over night on its own. I spent the whole night waking up every hour or so and checking that he was ok. Well, he didn't "convert" on his own overnight, so we headed into the hospital this morning for cardioversion. Anesthesist showed up, doped him into a stupor, and they connected pads to his chest and back and -- ZAP. Just like what you see on television with the paddles, but with a bit more control. I didn't watch (everyone unanimously decided that it was not something a non-medical person should see their spouse go through) but got the play-by-play afterwards.

Mark's co-workers were half-jokingly drawing straws to decide who got to "push the button" -- in the end, Dean did it -- twice. The first zap didn't get his rhythm back in line, the second did. His heart never stopped or anything -- the electric impulses just got screwed up and needed to be shocked back into the right rhythm. Apparently, this is not uncommon. He had an echocardiogram afterwards to ensure that there was nothing wrong with his heart and that no clots had formed while he was fibrillating (the risk was very low). Sent off with a clean bill of health.

He recovered pretty quickly and other than being loopy as hell, is fine. Came home and napped, and is back ot his old self again today. I was way more freaked out than he was, of course -- the Central Tenet of the Universe that Revolves Around Me is that nothing is allowed to happen to the Adorable Husband. This was a bit scary, if not directly life-threatening. They're going to keep an eye on him for a while to see if it happens again, otherwise, they'll probably write it off as a fluke.


Laura said...


My thought is to start poking him every hour or so throughout the night. You know, just to check. You get to pick the poking implement.

I agree with you -- he had better be okay! My brother has been absolutely indestructible so far, and so he shall remain.

The Tiger said...

If you use a cattle-prod and poke him in the chest, you can check him and de-fib him at the same time. Efficiency! ... kidding.

Hope he stays ok!