When Meredyth was twelve, she was diagnosed with asthma because she was often short of breath when playing sports. At the time, she played lacrosse and was a competitive swimmer; and her doctor prescribed her an inhaler.

“I passed out at a swim meet after that, and I went to the ER. The doctor did an EKG and said that I need to see a cardiologist – he suspected I had Long QT Syndrome,” she says. “My parents got me to an electrophysiologist, and the diagnosis was confirmed.”

Meredyth was prescribed beta blockers (a type of medication that helps control irregular heart rhythms), but they didn’t work well for her. “They depressed my entire nervous system,” she says. At twelve years old, she had a procedure called left cardiac sympathetic denervation (LCSD) – which has been successful to this day.

“The care I was given was just phenomenal,” says Meredyth. “Part of the reason I’m called to work at Abbott is because I know I was lucky – not everyone has access to medical professionals and medicine like that. When I was twelve, the LCSD was a revolutionary surgery, especially on a young patient.”

The recovery from the LCSD wasn’t difficult, says Meredyth, given that the incisions are very small and made by a laser. “The only difficult part of recovery is that they deflate your lung to perform the procedure, and because mine didn’t inflate before I woke up, I had to go through physical therapy, which was difficult,” she says.

After her surgery, Meredyth was able to go off of beta blockers, but had another fainting event (or syncope) at fifteen while playing sports. Two days after her event, her doctors inserted her internal cardiac defibrillator (ICD) as a safety net. “I’m very lucky to have received this life-saving device,” says Meredyth. “I stopped swimming and playing contact sports, but my life moved forward.”

Meredyth graduated from college, and went through a period of stress. One night, while out to eat with friends, she felt sick, and left dinner for the bathroom. “The next thing I knew, I was on the floor,” she says. “I’d passed out and been sick. My ICD saved my life.”

This event scared Meredyth – and she noticed that she had different concerns experiencing syncope as an adult. “At twelve, my event was very scary and I didn’t totally understand it. As a kid who played sports, not being able to play the way I wanted was the biggest challenge,” she says. “As an adult, I was worried about losing my driver’s license after my event. I’m very lucky to have had supportive people around me during that event who knew what to do, jumped into action, and went to the hospital with me.”

Now, Meredyth works for Abbott Laboratories in the electrophysiology division. “For me, working in this space is a way of saying thank you to the paramedics, doctors, surgeons and to my parents for their help, and my way of expressing my gratitude for the medicine and technology that saved my life. My own ICD is an Abbott ICD, and it’s my calling to work in electrophysiology and give back.”

To those who are facing a new diagnosis of a SADS condition, Meredyth says to not give up hope. “This diagnosis isn’t something that has to ruin your life – you can life and thrive with it, and be mindful without living in fear,” she says. “There is treatment, and there is hope. Research has come so far in my lifetime and is only going to keep progressing.”