Galesburg college student first OSF patient to receive under-the-skin defibrillator

An 18-year-old Carl Sandburg College student who collapsed during an open gym event in August after a cardiac abnormality has become the first patient at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center to receive a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator system (S-ICD).

Jordan Tribbet’s parents had dropped him off at his new apartment just five days before the cardiac event occurred on Aug. 19. Jordan, who is studying project management and is a guard on the basketball team, said he had not been feeling ill that day and even made a trip to Target before heading to the gym.

‘I feel blessed’

After Tribbet collapsed near the center court line, student athlete Cassandra Ellison – who is also a nurse tech at OSF St. Mary Medical Center – performed CPR while assistant coach Seth Wickert called 911. Tribbet was taken to OSF St. Mary, where he was stabilized then airlifted to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. He underwent surgery on Sept. 1.

“I feel blessed,” Jordan said recently, while recovering from the surgery. “It doesn’t seem like this is really happening. I was starting my new life in college and the next thing you know, I’m here.”

Time to heal

Jordan, who has played basketball on competitive teams since kindergarten, is hopeful the S-ICD system will allow him to resume his active lifestyle. For now, he’s following doctor’s orders.

“It’ll be hard for me to even walk back in the gym, but once I get comfortable with the device, I know I’ll get that itch to get back on the court,” he said. “Right now I’m content to just sit back and chill.”

About the device

  • The subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator system (S-ICD) was implanted in Jordan Tribbet on Sept. 1 by a team led by Dr. David Charles, a physician with OSF HealthCare and HeartCare Midwest.
  • The device is unique in that it is implanted just under the skin – with no wires touching the heart – so it eliminates potential serious short- and long-term risks associated with placing electrical wires inside the heart or blood vessels. Before this new technology was developed, all such devices required wires to be threaded through veins near the heart.
  • “This is a dramatic advancement in technology and gives another possible option for treatment to patients who suffer sudden cardiac arrest because of irregular heartbeat,” said Dr. David Charles.
  • Patients first need to be screened with an EKG and meet other criteria prior to consideration for the S-ICD.
  • The defibrillator was implanted in Jordan’s left side near his ribs, and wires travel up his breast cavity to the front of his chest. The system monitors the heart rhythm 24 hours a day and is designed to deliver a lifesaving electric shock to the heart when it senses an abnormal heart rhythm.