A father who claims to have died more than 200 times of a medical condition that causes his heart to suddenly stop says he knows how ‘the other side’ feels.
Troy Archer has an extreme case of vasovagal syncope, also known as the condition of the infirm. His daughter Minnie, 8, also suffers from the same disease.
In most cases of vasovagal syncope, the person experiences a sudden drop in their heart rate and blood pressure, which causes them to faint.
Troy Archer got a pacemaker set up for his extreme case of vasovagal syncope, which causes his heart to suddenly stop
In Mr. Archer’s case, however, his heart just stops, he flattens, and yet he goes briefly to the other side.
‘One of the most memorable attacks was when I was at Tweed Hospital and I heard the heart monitor making noise from the flat line. I understood I was gone, ‘he told the Sunday Mail.
He said he heard his family being asked to leave the room and a doctor rolled his eyes and asked him to stay with him.
Despite his shocking state, he did not feel scared, but instead felt ‘a wave of content’.
‘There was no tunnel, no bright light, but it was not dark. It felt comfortable … when I came back, that was when there was a swirling, swirling feeling and a twinkle in the faces of my family appeared, ‘he said.
Mr Archer does not need defibrillation when this happens, he makes it return to itself, he said.
‘There was no tunnel, no bright light, but it was not dark,’ says Troy Archer of his trips to ‘the other side’ as his heart stops
Clinical cardiologist David Colquhoun said vasovagal syncope is a common problem in cardiology, but the cases 44-year-old Troy Archer and his daughter Minnie experienced are very rare.
‘In this instance, it appears that there may be a genetic, electrical fault. The body may show no vital signs, but it only lasts for seconds, as after 30 seconds the brain would be affected, says Dr. Colquhoun to the Sunday Mail.
‘It’s extreme to say Troy is dead because you really only die once, but it must be very scary.’
Mr Archer got a pacemaker adapted to his condition in 2011. Last year he posted about it on Instagram and said it was nine years ago he shaved half his breast, ‘and you can clearly see that I had not yet reached to shave my face ‘.
‘Seriously, getting a pacemaker installed changed my life and the lives of a bunch of my loved ones. Hard journey on the way there, but it feels like another life ago! ‘ he wrote.
Dr. Colquhoun said that in 35 years of working with people with severe heart disease, he had only seen one other patient who needed a pacemaker for vasovagal syncope.
What is vasovagal syncope?
It occurs when you faint because your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as sight of blood or extreme emotional distress.
The vasovagal syncope trigger causes your heart rate and blood pressure to drop suddenly.
This leads to reduced blood flow to your brain, causing you to lose consciousness in a short time.
Mr Archer talks regularly with Minnie about their common condition as he does not want her to live her life for fear of it. He and his wife Sarah tell Minnie she has a superpower.
Brave Minnie told her parents she was not afraid of having seizures, ‘but the look on her face when she regains consciousness would say otherwise,’ her father said.
Mr Archer once had a seizure while driving to Brisbane, but managed to open the car door and fall out. He woke up surrounded by about 20 people who had stopped to help.
The Good Samaritans thought he was dead and shocked when he suddenly arrived.
This particular situation will not happen again as he is no longer allowed to drive.
Despite their common medical difficulties, Mr Archer says Minnie plays netball and enjoys school like any other eight-year-old. Troy and Sarah also have a six-year-old son named Marley.
Mr Archer said being active and outdoors is a great help as he, Minnie Sarah and Marley continue to live their lives as normally as possible.