When Raigan Miller was 11 years old, her heart began acting strangely after she was hit in the chest with a kickball during gym class. The 12-year-old’s parents, Andy and Sara Miller of Litchfield, thought the way their daughter acted during gym, days later, was just panic and anxiety attacks.
“So she gets really dizzy,” Sara said. “Sometimes she feels like she’s going to pass out. Her skin turns gray-white color. She gets nauseated. She’ll describe it sometimes like her chest is ripping open. So she gets ... very fatigued, and her medicine makes her very tired. So she has to take the medicine and she’ll get pretty tired and it wears her out.”
The Millers learned that Raigan’s heart rate was higher than normal at 250 beats per minute, and Sara said she could see Raigan’s neck pulsing. Sara later took Raigan to the emergency room at CentraCare in St. Cloud, which was the first of many visits.
“We learned she most likely had supraventricular tachycardia and (the doctor) referred us to the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital to see a specialist,” Sara said.
At Children’s, a procedure was done to find the location that caused Raigan’s heart episodes and stop it, but the procedure didn’t work, Sara said. So the Millers consulted another doctor.
“After hours of mapping and ablating and finding a second AV node in her heart, which caused the name change to atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia,” Sara said, “they performed the ablation and were 99 percent convinced the issue was taken care of, and she would not experience tachycardia again.”
But Raigan continued to experience rapid heart rates at times, with other symptoms, so they gave her medications, Sara said.
After more tests, Raigan’s doctor discovered her sinus rhythm was off — her range when she was wearing a heart monitor was anywhere between 55 and 213 beats per minute.
“They’re calling it junctional ectopic beat,” Sara said. “So there’s still … tachycardia in there, but it’s different than what they initially thought it was.”
Money from the Tim Orth Memorial Foundation is a huge help for the family, especially for all the medical costs for the heart monitors, procedures and others needs, Sara said.
“It’s a stress reliever to know that there is some help there that would help cover some of those costs that we’ve incurred over the last couple of years with this new situation,” Sara said. “Because we all know a University of Minnesota medical bill for two different surgeries is a lot.”