Ruth Deaton has been surrounded by accomplished surgeons her whole life.
Her father, Glen R. Frye, was a surgeon. Her husband Hugo Deaton and son,
David Deaton are also surgeons. At the age of 81, Mrs. Deaton’s
contemporaries covet the expert medical advice and wealth of knowledge
upon which she bases decisions about her personal health care. Such decisions
became of paramount importance in May 2014 after a left hemisphere cryptogenic
stroke left her facing months of rehabilitation.
Both of Deaton’s parents died following a stroke, so she is acutely
aware of the consequences she could face if a subsequent, more damaging
stroke occurs. Along with her husband and son, she began working closely
with doctors to uncover the cause of the cryptogenic stroke and develop
an aggressive treatment plan to prevent another stroke. By definition,
a cryptogenic stroke is one of unknown origin.
Deaton remains focused on a goal that she and her husband set during their
50 years sailing up and down the Atlantic coast. “I’m his
first mate,” said Mrs. Deaton. “We don’t sail anymore,
but Hugo and I still have the goal we set during those sailing adventures.”
That goal, Deaton says, is to “stay afloat”.
Recovering from the stroke has been both victorious and challenging. Although
she still has some difficulty balancing, walking, and speaking clearly,
Deaton is determined to regain the best quality of life possible. She
and Dr. Deaton were preparing for an upcoming 14-day beach trip at the
time of this interview.
Deaton’s neurologist referred her to Brian Steg, MD, a cardiologist
Catawba Valley Cardiology, to explore the possibility of correlated irregular heart activity as
the source of her stroke. Dr. Steg recommended using an insertable cardiac
monitoring system called Reveal LINQ, a device approved by the FDA in
January 2014. Dr. Steg is among the region’s first cardiologists
to adopt this technology, hailed as the world’s smallest heart monitor.
Since March, all of the cardiologists at Catawba Valley Medical Center
(CVMC) have embraced the simplicity of inserting the tiny wireless device
just beneath the skin through a tiny nick.
“If we can pinpoint the cause of stroke, we then can apply the most
appropriate treatment and help minimize the risk of a subsequent, possibly
more damaging, stroke,” said Dr. Steg. “For example, detecting
atrial fibrillation after a stroke is helpful because there are blood
thinners that specifically reduce the risk of stroke..”
In July, Mrs. Deaton underwent a 10-minute outpatient procedure at CVMC
under local anesthesia during which she received a Reveal LINQ device
capable of recording her heart activity continuously for up to 3 years
with data transmitted wirelessly to the staff at Catawba Valley Cardiology
for interpretation and action if necessary.
Traditionally, a heart monitor involved having a patient wear a bulky portable
monitoring device to detect episodes of sporadic irregularities in heart
activity. Those devices were limited because they became uncomfortable
when worn for long periods or the adhesive electrodes required would become
displaced, limiting the integrity of a recording.
For more information about the
Medtronic Reveal LINQ insertable cardiac monitor, patients may contact Catawba Valley Cardiology
at 828-326-2354. The multimedia link below shows the process used to insert