As they did on most Sunday mornings, ReJeana Squyres and her husband, Bryce, joined others in worship and praise at Cross Creek Cowboy Church in Atlanta, Texas, on August 26, 2018.
However, this particular Sunday veered far off the expected path following the service when ReJeana suddenly and quietly fainted in the front passenger seat of their car.
“After church, we were on our way to pick up my mother, Betty Dooley, to take her to lunch — probably at Catfish King,” ReJeana says. “We were about a block from mother’s house when I passed out. Bryce didn’t even realize what happened at first.”
An Emergency Moment
Bryce quickly realized the emergency moment, and ReJeana was transported to CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital-Atlanta, where her heart stopped beating three different times before the physician and staff could stabilize her enough for her to be transported to CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System (CSMHS) in Texarkana by LifeNet Air helicopter.
“They couldn’t have done a better job in Atlanta to stabilize my wife,” Bryce says. “I was very impressed — they were quick, efficient and thorough. They knew what they were doing, and we certainly made the right decision in going to CHRISTUS St. Michael in Atlanta first.”
With her heart out of rhythm, ReJeana was whisked straight to the region’s only electrophysiology (EP) lab at CSMHS, where Megan Do, D.O., FACC, cardiologist, and the EP lab team awaited her arrival. ReJeana’s heart stopped beating two more times before a temporary pacemaker was placed in an effort to keep her rhythm in check and bradyarrhythmia (slow heart rate) managed until a permanent solution could be identified.
Dr. Do consulted Kevin Hayes, M.D., CHRISTUS St. Michael EP Lab medical director and the area’s only cardiac electrophysiologist, who determined ReJeana was a great candidate for the miniaturized Micra™ Transcatheter Pacing System or TPS. Produced by the biomedical engineering company Medtronic, Micra is the world’s smallest pacemaker (about the size of a vitamin pill) and does not require the use of leads, according to Medtronic data.
“Dr. Hayes showed us the Micra pacemaker and a standard pacemaker and explained the benefits,” ReJeana says. “We decided to go with the Micra, and I was awake when Dr. Hayes implanted the
pacemaker. The less-invasive procedure was fast, and I really didn’t experience any discomfort.
“I felt better almost immediately, and I can’t even tell the pacemaker is there,” ReJeana continues. “I didn’t know what to expect — I was dreading the procedure. But it was just a matter of a small incision at the groin, and I am excited to know that such a small device can help make sure my heart beats as it should.”
“The physicians and staff here at CHRISTUS St. Michael are superb,” Bryce adds. “Their knowledge and expertise are impressive, and everyone is very caring. There’s no doubt in our minds that when you need heart care, St. Michael is the place to go.” ReJeana and Bryce feel blessed that the advanced technology of the Micra pacemaker, the EP Lab and Dr. Hayes are available for residents with heart issues in the Texarkana region.
Both now retired, the couple seizes every opportunity to follow their hearts by spoiling their grandchildren, Jackson and Jenna. The Squyres also enjoy traveling to various venues to hear their son, Zach, perform with a country gospel band and enjoy the time they are able to spend with Zach and his wife, Jennifer.