From the Heart of the Bobier Family

When Jenny Bobier, 30, was a high school athlete, no one understood that her fatigue, fainting spells and chaotic heartbeat episodes were signs of a life-endangering, inherited heart condition known as Long QT. Even after its discovery in her mid 20s, unsuccessful treatment left her fearful and uncertain, until a health crisis brought Jenny – and soon after her brother and mother – to the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center.


Long QT syndrome is a heart rhythm disorder that may cause fast, erratic heartbeats. These irregular heartbeats may trigger a fainting spell or seizure, or in some cases, even sudden cardiac death. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of the people who have untreated long QT syndrome die within 10 years.

Nearly seven months ago, Jenny received an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), a device with wires that connect directly to the heart. An ICD can detect an arrhythmia, or abnormal heartbeat, and restore a normal heart rhythm. Unfortunately, the ICD wires came loose – twice. Both times, Jenny underwent emergency surgeries.

“This last time, I was at a gym,” says Jenny. “Fortunately, a critical care nurse from Orange Coast Medical Center also happened to be there, and caught me as I began to fall from the Stairmaster.”

Jenny was rushed to the Emergency Department at Orange Coast Medical Center.


Dr. Le removed Jenny’s failed ICD and successfully replaced it with a newer, less-invasive, subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator (S-ICD). About the size of a small bar of soap, the S-ICD System is the world’s first and only subcutaneous defibrillator. Unlike traditional ICDs, the S-ICD is placed just below the surface of the skin, requiring only a small, easily concealed incision. The S-ICD doesn’t touch the heart or nearby structures, so the risk of complications is greatly reduced.

“The device continuously monitors heart rhythms, all day and all night. If a patient goes into sudden cardiac arrest, they’re protected,” says Dr. Le. “It’s like having a guardian angel, watching over you at all times.”

One of the few area physicians skilled in implanting the S-ICD System, Dr. Le and the heart specialists at the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Memorial were early adopters of the S-ICD. A dedicated team of cardiac experts use advanced imaging capabilities and state-of-art technology to perform life-saving heart procedures for patients like Jenny.


According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease can run in the family. Although long QT syndrome is somewhat uncommon, genetics play a role in high blood pressure and other vascular conditions..

Jenny proactively decided to have genetic testing, which came back positive for a rare gene linked to long QT syndrome. She urged her brother, Chris, and mother, Barbara, to be tested as well. The results confirmed that both carried the Long QT gene.

“We will never know for sure, but we now presume that the unexpected passing of my younger, 20-year-old brother, Bradley, was the result of this horrific, shared gene abnormality,” says Jenny.

54-year-old Barbara recalls, “At first, I couldn’t believe it. I’ve survived this long and I’m in good health, so I thought I must be okay. Then my sister told me our grandfather experienced a cardiac event at age 41. It was all beginning to make sense. Still, my test results came as a shock to me.”


Knowing their risk, Chris and Barbara consulted with Dr. Le, who implanted their S-ICDs. Within weeks of their procedures, each of the three Bobiers resumed their normal workouts and active lifestyles.

“I’m still in disbelief that after just one night in the hospital, I was able to come home and have my life back,” says Jenny. “I’m doing all the things I love – running, paddleboarding and kayaking. And, most importantly, I’m not afraid anymore.”

Today, the Bobier family often spends quality time together on their 32-foot cabin cruiser, exploring Huntington Harbor.

“We’ve come to realize that life is precious and short,” says Barbara. “We want to make every day count. Dr. Le and Orange Coast Memorial have given us that opportunity.”

Learn more about the advanced care provided by leading heart specialists at the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute.