Most people who meet Oklahoma native Brent Miller, 50, would consider him an active and healthy 50-year-old. A competitive runner, he has logged more than 1,000 miles over the past three years, including five marathons, two half-Iron Mans, One Iron Man, and 150 5Ks. But his biggest accomplishment was surviving sudden cardiac arrest.
As such an active runner, Brent knew something wasn’t right when he started to experience frequent severe crushing chest pain in early 2021. He went to the hospital and found he had a blockage that was stopping vital blood flow to his heart – he was having a heart attack. At Oklahoma Heart Hospital, cardiologists put in a total of four emergency stents to improve blood flow. Brent survived the heart attack, but it weakened his heart function, and put him at risk for SCA.
Dr. Joseph Horstman prescribed LifeVest, a wearable defibrillator, for protection during Brent’s cardiac recovery. LifeVest is designed to continuously monitor a patient’s heart, detect certain life-threatening rapid heart rhythms, and automatically deliver a treatment shock to restore normal heart rhythm and save a patient’s life. Brent was told to wear LifeVest under his clothes day and night, only taking it off for a short shower.
About a week later, Brent was at home when his heart spiked into a rapid, life-threatening rhythm and he lost consciousness. His wearable defibrillator detected the SCA and delivered a treatment shock that saved his life. Brent’s wife called 911, and emergency services took him back to Oklahoma Heart Hospital. Brent ultimately received an implantable defibrillator (ICD) for permanent SCA protection.
“My SCA was very immediate; I did not feel it was coming on at all,” Brent said. “I was talking to my wife and I collapsed. The device shocked me and basically ‘rebooted’ my heart.”
Today, Brent is working with his cardiology team as he slowly regains his strength. He plans to compete again and is currently training for an upcoming half-marathon.
“It probably won’t be at the pace I used to run,” Brent said, “but however long it takes me to get there, that’s my goal.”
Click here to learn more about the difference between SCA and a heart attack.