Nadine Jenkins - Survivor
At age 38 Nadine Jenkins had an implantable cardiac defibrillator implanted to save her from sudden cardiac death. Told at age 18 that she had a mitral valve prolapse, she was advised to take antibiotics when having any surgery or dental procedures. While she always felt palpitations or the sensation of an irregular heartbeat, it was not until 1999 when she was in atrial fibrillation for several days that she realized something was truly wrong.
At that time she was working in a hospital and mentioned to a trauma nurse that her heart had been racing/beating abnormally since the night before. The nurse hooked her up to a heart monitor downstairs in the ER and she was admitted immediately. The doctors gave her blood thinner, another heart medicine, and wanted to defibrillate her, but she declined. She then sought out her current cardiologist, who ordered all sorts of tests, including a cardiac cath, which showed scar tissue from a prior heart attack. She had no knowledge of ever experiencing a heart attack. Placed on a beta blocker and seen regularly for the next few years, all was good, until the summer of 2003 when she blacked out. Nadine underwent an EPS study and tilt table test and immediately had a Medtronic defibrillator placed.
As a member of WomenHeart, Nadine graduated from the Mayo Clinic Science and Leadership Symposium in October 2006 and currently speaks to others about her experience and the significance of living a heart healthy life, understanding your risks and listening to your body. Nadine's most recent episode occurred April 1, 2007. Her heart rate was over 300 and she went unconscious, but thankfully her defibrillator worked. She is still here today.
Nadine hopes that her story will inspire and help others. Her family has been a great support system and through WomenHeart she has met other wonderful women who have also survived and live with heart disease.