Jay Burkey was in the final month of his senior year in high school when he started having trouble breathing. After a quick trip to the family doctor and a prescription for medication to treat bronchitis, he put his mind back on school. However a few days later he started to feel worse. Much worse. In addition to trouble breathing, his chest hurt and he felt light headed and nauseous. His mother, Melanie, took him to a local emergency room fearing a severe asthma attack.
“In the ER my blood pressure was really low, like 60 over 40 and then my heart rate spiked up to 300 beats a minute,” said Burkey. “I could see my mom at the foot of my bed in the ER and then everything went black.” Burkey was in cardiac arrest. His heart had stopped for 50 seconds until external defibrillators shocked his heart back into action. Later in intensive care, his cardiologist explained what had happened. Burkey had Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome (WPW), a heart rhythm disorder that causes a very fast heart rate. He was quickly transferred to Bay Medical-Sacred Heart in order to receive treatment from Dr. Hari Baddigam, a cardiologist who specializes in electrophysiology