hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


November 22, 2012

Solving her mystery illness

Woman raises awareness of link between fainting, heart problem


There, doctors performed an ultrasound, a CT scan and an EKG test, but couldn’t find anything wrong with her. They gave her a Holter heart monitor to wear. It monitors all heart activity, but after nothing abnormal was detected, she was told that she probably had just been dehydrated.

A few months later in May, Conte again started to get dizzy and eventually fainted in a Dunkin’ Donuts. In August, she felt faint again, this time while brewing a cup of coffee in her home.

Conte went to the hospital and many tests were done again, but doctors still could not determine the cause of her fainting.

After seeing many specialists, Conte went to Ken Adams, a cardiologist at Pentucket Medical Associates. Adams decided he would use a special recorder to track Conte’s heart beat. Last November, it detected a severe abnormality.

Conte’s heart rate would sometimes drop as low as 31 beats per minute, a rate which can cause serious heart issues.

The next day, Conte went in for an operation where doctors placed a pacemaker in her chest to keep her heart beat regular. She will have the device permanently, but she said it is worth the change because it allows her to return to a normal life.

Since Conte received the pacemaker, she has not had any fainting incidents and does not have any restrictions on her daily life.

She did have an issue when she tried to go through security at the airport, however.

“Anything that can pace the heart can set the machine off,” she said.

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