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 practicing with 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 Reveal LINQ.