Sunrise Health
December 16, 2020

Until earlier this year, one might find Marc Geiger, a 20-year Las Vegas resident manning the skies with a law enforcement agency as a Tactical Flight Officer.  Geiger, has been working in aviation throughout his life as well as in law enforcement for over 17 years.  As a tactical flight officer, Geiger’s flight operation duties support numerous and varied law enforcement missions.

In late 2019 and early 2020, Geiger experienced two transient ischemic attacks or TIA known as a mini-stroke.  Geiger shares, “I was on a two-person crew training mission and felt pain in my arm just after landing, I felt a little queasy which was not normal for me.  I also had some cramping in my bicep area.” he said.  During the second suspected TIA approximately one month later, Geiger commented, “I was mid-flight and had trouble articulating my words while transmitting information to the dispatch center over the radio.  The pilot in command recognized a medical issue and we landed safely.”  After the first TIA, Geiger was taken to the emergency room where he was incorrectly diagnosed with thoracic impingement syndrome.  After his second TIA and trip to the emergency room, he was referred to Jeffrey Levisman, MD, FACC, FSCAI, board certified Interventional Cardiologist at Las Vegas Heart Associates.  Dr. Levisman, Chief of Cardiology and the Medical Director of Transcatheter Valve Replacement (TAVR) Program at MountainView Hospital, was now in control of Geiger’s care plan.  Dr. Levisman shares, “A TIA also referred to as a warning stroke, can last a few minutes and up to 24-hours before symptoms disappear.  At times, a TIA can sometimes foreshadow something more serious and life-threatening such as a full-blown stroke, which is what we want to prevent.” 

After running multiple tests including an EKG that was found to be abnormal and a bubble study that was inconclusive, Dr. Levisman’s next step was to rule out a patent foramen ovale, an opening between the left and right chambers of the heart, “We are able to close this opening in a minimally invasive procedure to prevent the possibility of a blood clot from forming,” Dr. Levisman said.

Patient assisted in monitoring public safety, now is receiving cardiac monitoring

After completion of the procedure, Dr. Levisman then referred Geiger to his colleague, Niuton Koide, MD, FACC, board certified Cardiac Electrophysiologist at Las Vegas Heart Associates and the Director of the Electrophysiology Department at MountainView Hospital for further care.  At Dr. Koide’s recommendation, Geiger was prescribed to receive an insertable cardiac monitoring system (ICM), “This tool is instrumental in diagnosing, managing and monitoring long-term heart conditions such as; atrial fibrillation and arrhythmia,” said Dr. Koide.  “This device is surgically placed under the skin of a patient’s chest during a brief minimally invasive outpatient procedure,” said Dr. Koide.

Once implanted the device requires cellular or Wi-Fi capability, a home communicator device or a smart phone in which data is transmitted to your physician.  There is a smart phone and tablet app available to pair with the ICM.  The system has a remote monitoring component which allows both the patient and the physician to connect to the device via the app to see real-time data including current heart rhythms.  The device “watches” for any cardiac problems that may arise 24-hours–a-day for up to four and a half years after the device is inserted.  The app allows patients the capability to also record symptoms as they happen, which is then sent to the doctor.

 “ICMs are prescribed when a physician is unable to diagnose the cause of your symptoms by standard methods such as an EKG,” said Dr. Koide, Medical Director of Electrophysiology.  “There needs to be a longer period to monitor, this is a solution for chronic disease management that is accurate, instantaneous and provides peace of mind for my patients.”

While Geiger is no longer in-flight, Geiger who is still serving in law enforcement, is serving in the Community Relations Department teaching classes on topics such as crime prevention, coordinating and hosting community-orientated events among many other community engagements.

“I’ve had two procedures now at MountainView Hospital and couldn’t have asked for a better hospital or staff that cared for me,” said Geiger.  “I’m such a stickler; the quality of care and service was so high across the board.  I did not hesitate to fill out the survey sharing my thoughts.”

When asked what preventive measures and advice to give to someone experiencing a medical concern, Geiger, said, “I get annual physicals, I’m healthy and in shape because my career requires it, but that may not always be enough.  Make sure you’re proactive and listen to your body.”  He said, “Things can go undetected, as they did in my case.  I’m so thankful for Dr. Levisman and Dr. Koide for the great care I received and being able to have access to some of the best technology.”