“The Woman Who Needed to Be Upside-Down”

Behold the curious case of a woman whose defective pacemaker wiring caused her to pass out unless she was being held upside-down. Dr Louis F. Janeira, writing in Discover’s Heath and Medicine blog, reports (though changing “names and certain details”):

I ran to the ambulance bay, rounded a corner, and saw a huge man, seven-foot-something, holding a petite woman, maybe five feet tall, by her feet, her head dangling down. “I have to hold her this way,” the man insisted….

I approached the couple slowly. “I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” I said leaning over, trying to see her face. “Didn’t you have your pacemaker implanted yesterday?”

“Yes,” she said. “I had the surgery yesterday. Everything went well, and I went home this morning.”

“Everything was good until about half an hour ago,” Jason said….

Something must have gone wrong with her operation yesterday, I thought. Then suddenly it hit me. “The pacemaker lead, the wire going from the pacemaker generator to your right ventricle, must have disconnected. Your coughing spell could have done it,” I said. “Somehow, the lead reconnects when you are upside down and continues to stimulate the heart.”