For 41-year-old athletic trainer Brandi Docket, running was a way of life. From starting as a hobby to becoming a way to lose weight after giving birth to her children, it gave her a sense of accomplishment. A couple of years ago, however, Brandi started experiencing what she calls “episodes,” where she felt a heaviness in her chest and got dizzy and light-headed. The episodes would only last a few minutes, but they were concerning for her and her doctor. She was referred to the Cooper Heart Institute for testing.
Her Cooper cardiologist, Rido Cha, MD, set her up with a heart monitor that she wore 24 hours a day. While sitting on the couch one night watching a movie with her family, her monitor started beeping loudly. Soon afterward, she received a call from Cooper.
Brandi was diagnosed with paroxysmal AV block, an electrical problem in the heart that predisposed her to long intervals between heartbeats. Although her heart was extremely healthy, the electrical problem was causing symptoms that could lead to fainting—or even death in very severe cases.
At the time of her diagnosis, Matthew L. Ortman, MD, an electrophysiologist at Cooper, suggested an implantable defibrillator.
But Brandi was in the midst of training for a marathon and wanted to be sure she would be able to continue to run.
Dr. Ortman made a promise he would have her running in the Philly Marathon.
Learn more about Brandi’s story here.