Amazing Stories - Heidi & Janine

Heidi F. Testimonial

“My flu-like symptoms turned out to be a heart attack.”

NAME: Heidi F.
Cardiac Arrest

I was getting ready for my grandson’s birthday, when all of a sudden I became weak. I thought I was coming down with the flu. Before going to sleep, I called my son and told him that something didn’t feel right. We took no chances and called 911. The paramedics arrived and within minutes I was in cardiac arrest.

I woke up a few days later and after many tests the doctors determined that the upper part of my heart wasn’t sending signals to the bottom part to pump blood and that’s why my heart stopped. I was fitted with an ICD to treat my irregular heartbeat. After the procedure, I’m back to normal, I’m energetic and I feel great.

Why I choose South Nassau? The entire cardiac team was amazing. No amount of words will ever help me express how thankful I am. They’re my heroes. They’re my angels.


Janine G. Testimonial

Janine's Story: I am grateful for the life that was given back to me.

An exuberant Janine Gentile has regained her health — and life — thanks to Lawrence Kanner, MD, South Nassau's Director of Electrophysiology Services. He and his team are experts diagnosing and correcting problems with heart rhythm. 

For over 12 years, Gentile, an elementary school teacher, had been suffering from sudden fainting. The cause: neurocardiogenic syncope, in which blood pressure falls quickly, and blood flow to the brain drops. This caused her to faint. And it greatly affected her life and her ability to work. Heart medicines and a pacemaker helped, but they did not correct the condition completely. Her primary care physician suggested she see Dr. Kanner at South Nassau. After evaluating her, he recommended something that changed her life: a new, highly advanced pacemaker that did something her previous pacemaker couldn’t do.

Most pacemakers have no way of sensing blood pressure before it drops too low, Dr. Kanner says. So the pacemaker she had implanted earlier made adjustments to her blood pressure too late. "So she continued to black out," he says. "The more advanced BIOTRONIK Evia pacemaker, on the other hand, senses a potential drop in blood pressure before it occurs and adjusts the heart rate earlier. It’s able to raise blood pressure in time to help prevent a blackout."

BIOTRONIK's Evia pacemaker, which is also 20 percent smaller than traditional models, incorporates wireless monitoring and works like a cellphone to send important information to the physician. The physician, in turn, can use the same cellphone-like technology to perform a complete wireless remote checkup. 

It has been years since Janine's new pacemaker was implanted. She's back teaching grade school, running 8 miles a week and snow skiing. She was even able to join her husband to hike a volcano in Hawaii.

"I am grateful for the life that was given back to me," she said. “The thought of not being able to teach again was very difficult," she said. "Dr. Kanner's knowledge, compassion and bedside manner are amazing. My life would be very different had I not met him."

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Electrophysiology Laboratory