Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to receive pacemaker to treat irregular heartbeat

By ENS staff
Posted Feb 29, 2024

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is scheduled for surgery March 1 to receive a pacemaker as part of his treatment for atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, a condition that was previously diagnosed during an annual physical exam.

The insertion of the pacemaker will require hospitalization for one night, and he will “continue tending to light-duty work tasks until released to travel and increase his duties,” according to a health update released Feb. 29 by the church’s Office of Public Affairs.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will be receive a pacemaker on March 1, requiring an overnight stay in a hospital. Photo: Janet Kawamoto

Curry, who turns 71 in March, has spent much of the past year recovering at home in Raleigh, North Carolina, from a series of health crises and treatments recommended by doctors. The limits on his workload and travel have required him to delegate some of his church leadership responsibilities, and will not attend the House of Bishops meeting taking place this week at Camp Allen in the Diocese of Texas. Former Michigan Bishop Wendell Gibbs is chairing the meeting.

“Your continued prayers for Bishop Curry, his family, and his medical team are greatly appreciated,” the release said.

Curry was first hospitalized in May 2023 for treatment of internal bleeding and an irregular heartbeat. While hospitalized, he experienced two other episodes of irregular heartbeat. At that time, the Office of Public Affairs noted that the atrial fibrillation had been detected in an annual physical, and he began wearing a heart monitor to help determine what further treatment was necessary.

In treating the internal bleeding, doctors recommended surgery to remove his right adrenal gland and an attached mass. He underwent the surgery on Sept. 20, and doctors have determined the mass they removed was not cancerous.

Then in December, after Curry fell during a visit to the Diocese of Central New York, doctors diagnosed a cerebral hematoma, or brain bleed. On Jan. 18, he underwent another medical procedure intended to treat the underlying condition that had caused the brain bleed. Since then, he has been recovering at home.

The upcoming surgery appears to be separate from Curry’s treatment for subdural hematoma. The pacemaker is intended to smooth out a patient’s potentially dangerous heartbeat irregularities. Atrial fibrillation, if untreated, can cause blood clots in the heart, increasing the risk of stroke, heart failure or other heart-related conditions, according to an overview by the Mayo Clinic.