At her home in St. George, 19 year old Rebecca Hunt's heart suddenly went into cardiac arrest. She was dying. "It was completely unexpected. There weren't any warning signs as far as her passing out. I had no clues this would happen. They had to defibrillate her three times, twice at home and once in the ambulance on her way to the hospital," said husband Jeffrey Hunt.
But that was then! This afternoon, she's going through rehab at Dixie Regional Hospital, working on some minor side effects with memory and speech. Rebecca said "It's like I've been asleep for two weeks. Each day keeps getting better."
Though Rebecca may have a hidden Heart Arrhythmia Condition, it's working fine now, because when she was flown to LDS Hospital, Dr. James Revenaugh and his colleagues used what is called a PVAD Pump.
The PVAD is a unique device because it's minimally invasive. It's attached to the exterior of the body, on the leg, and the whole procedure inside this Cath Lab takes only about fourtyfive minutes. For E.R. Patients, hearts failing and fading fast, the PVAD can be strapped immediately on the leg and attached with cannulas fed through a small incision in the groin to the Femoral Artery. "We've seen some pretty impressive turnarounds when we've used this device to support people in cardiogenic shock. But for her to recover as dramatically as she did is something I personally have not seen before," said Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. James Revenaugh.
Though she was on the PVAD only a short time, it gave the heart enough time to rest and rebound. "When she left the hospital, her heart muscle function off of any medication to support it had recovered to the point of calling it normal or near normal," stated Dr. James Revenaugh.
The FDA granted approval for the PVAD Pump in 2003. Since then, it's been used on five hundred patients worldwide.