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Share Your Story: Aaron Grefrath

by Christy D. on Monday, August 5, 2013

Aaron Grefrath Missouri

My story begins in December 2008. I was 37 years old at the time. It was a normal December day as I was gearing up for Christmas Break at work. I was sitting at my desk performing normal day to day operations on my computer. I was feeling fine, the next thing I knew I woke up on the floor in my office. I have no recollection of what happened or how long I was on the floor.  I called my wife and she left to come and get me so we could go to the hospital.

As I waited and tried to piece everything together and wrap things up in my office, I passed out and woke up this time with my head on my keyboard. Once again not knowing what happened or how long I was passed out. At this point, with my wife in route we decided it would be best for the Ambulance to transport me to the hospital in Jefferson City. After several days in the hospital and extensive testing, nothing was found as the contributing factor to my episodes. So I resumed normal day to day activities.
A year later in December 2009, I was standing in our bedroom, hugging my wife as I got ready to leave for my daughter’s basketball game in Springfield. My wife said I grabbed my head and immediately fell to the ground. There were no signs of life and she thought I was dead. She called 911 and I came to. We left for the Emergency room immediately. I was kept in the hospital for several days; the same tests which were run the prior year were performed again. The results were still the same as a year earlier. So it was at this time, my local cardiologist referred me to a specialist in Columbia, who would perform a Tilt Table test on me. The Tilt Table test was performed and within seconds of the test starting I passed out again at which time doctors said I had complete ventricular and atrial asystole for approximately 38 seconds. I woke up with a team of doctors and nurses surrounding me, once again I had no idea what happened. 

In medicine, asystole is a state of no cardiac activity. There are no contractions and no cardiac output or blood flow. Asystole is one of the conditions that may be used for a medical practioner to certify clinical or legal death. It was then deemed necessary for me to have a pace maker implanted. I had a dual lead pacemaker implanted on December 23, 2010 and today I have resumed my “normal” life and doing great.

Since then I have been a high level advocate for the American Heart Association - specifically helping with legislation on getting all high school students trained in CPR before they graduate.  I have also made the trip to Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of the American Heart Association.