Nikki Dadarria, 57, of Lopatcong Township, New Jersey, always thought it was odd that blood pressure cuff machines were never able to read her measurements.
“Doctors and nurses always blamed the machine, and I assumed they were right,” she says.
Since she has fibromyalgia, she thought fatigue and shortness of breath also were related to that. She had no prior indication that anything serious was wrong with her heart until an appointment with her doctor in early 2014. When nurses tried to take her blood pressure, they struggled to get a reading. When her physician came in, Dadarria advocated for herself and asked for a manual reading. And immediately, her doctor thought something was off.
“He listened and thought he heard something odd and sent me for an EKG (electrocardiogram). I had no chest pain, and at 50, I thought I was too young to have heart problems,” she says.
However, more tests showed that something was very wrong: She was diagnosed with left bundle branch block, an electrical conduction problem in the left ventricle. Her cardiologist, Ronak Patel, MD, with LVPG Cardiology, told her that her heart pumping function was at 16%, but it should be in the 50-70% range. This low function showed she was in heart failure.
“It was so scary,” she says.