Twenty-two year old Elijah Cox explains his heart problem, "It was
just like every other day I was just sitting at home on my computer,
when my LifeVest (Portable Defibrillator) went off, which means I
was in an irregular arrhythmia." Cox said, "Unlike most people I did
not become unconscious during this cardiac event, and was able call
my step-mother and she came and took me to the hospital where I was
admitted to the emergency room. I was in ventricular tachycardia
also known as V-Tach, which can cause arrythmia and ventricular
When that happens, the heart is not able to pump blood correctly and
cardiac arrest often follows.
Cox said, "I was given medicine that slows down the heart and stops
the arrhythmia, and it did not work. This meant that I needed to be
Cardioverted, but because I was conscious the ER doctor was not
wanting to do the shock. Eventually, I became unconscious as I said
I can't hear anyone, and then everything went white and I regained
In order to shock his heart back into the rhythm, Cox said, "The
doctors then gave me medicine to partially knock me out and
administer the shock, but this also did not work, I was still in V-Tach
and then it just stopped. I was in the fatal arrhythmia [which
caused an irregular heartbeat] for close to three and a half hours."
That day marked the beginning of a long hospital stay. Cox said, "I
was then life-flighted to Barnes Jewish Hospital where I would spend
the next 2 months undergoing different procedures to help extend my
life until I could receive a heart transplant."
Cox came home mid-January, but still has a long road to recovery.
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Currently, I am not doing cardiac rehab,
although I do walk on the treadmill at the rec every morning at
the request of my doctors. I currently walk close to three miles
everyday, and if all goes well I will be able to do more and
more as I recover.
Cox said, "Right now I feel great I have blood flowing through
my body thanks to my Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD),
which does most of the work for my heart. I am able to be up and
active and do many things on my own just recently. My life has
taken many adjustments, such as a healthy diet limited in salt
and fats, and also limited amounts of fluid per day, but I feel
great about myself. At times I do get discouraged with some of
my limitations, but in the end it will make my life much better
Right now, Cox is on the list for a heart transplant and will
have to wear the device until a heart becomes available. Though
he has been through a lot, he has managed to keep in fairly good
spirits through everything.