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New hope for family with "ticking time bomb" heart condition

Jen Bobier, 29, suffers from a rare condition that can trigger fast, chaotic heart rhythms.

"I was a ticking time bomb," she said. "So really an arrhythmia could've hit at any point, and if there wasn't anyone around to resuscitate me I would've just died."

She's not the only one in her family suffering with the disorder. Her brother, Chris, and her mother, Barb, all have Long QT Syndrome, which can cause rapid heartbeats, fainting, and deadly cardiac arrest.

The condition is genetic, but the family only found out they all had it after the youngest sibling, 20-year-old Bradley, died suddenly in his sleep.

"That is the worst day of my life," Jen Bobier said. "At the end of the day, he gave his life so that my brother and I and mom can live."

In May, Jen received a new kind of defibrillator, known as S-ICD -- Subcutaneous Implantable Defibrillator.

"Think of it as your own personal ambulance," said Dr. Thuy Le, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Orange Coast Memorial Hospital in Fountain Valley, California. "If the heart rhythm reaches a rate where it feels that it would be life-threatening for the patient, the device then would then kick in, which would charge and shock the patient and put them back into normal rhythm," said Le.

Le surgically implanted the device in both Jen and her brother. Unlike most models which attach to the heart, this less invasive device is placed just under the skin as part of a roughly hour-long surgery. So far, more than 2,000 patients have had the device.

Barb underwent surgery just this month to receive her defibrillator, but says she first found relief knowing her two children already have the device.

"They will end up bouncing back and continuing on with life, as opposed to me burying another child."