KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally has returned to the Tennessee General Assembly after undergoing surgery to have a pacemaker inserted.
The 79-year-old senator from Oak Ridge had quite the scare last week that caused him to check into Vanderbilt University Hospital. Thankfully, he’s now back at work and received a warm welcome in Thursday’s session.
It was exactly one week ago that he experienced irregular heartbeats while on the Senate Floor.
“I was in session presiding and my watch kept showing that I had a really low heartbeat and sending me warnings,” McNally said. “After about the third or fourth warning I decided it was probably time to get it checked out.”
McNally then handed the session over to Speaker Pro Temp Ferrell Hale while he and Senator Richard Briggs went to the hospital.
“I went over and met the nurse and she took my blood pressure, which was a little high,” McNally said. “He listened to my heart and told me that I needed to get to a hospital and get an EKG.”
That EKG told doctors he was suffering from Brachycardia and Premature Atrial Contractions or PAC’s.
“The pumping activity in my heart was good but the electrical activity was not and it was causing the pumping to be slow,” McNally said.
McNally is thankful for all of the prayers and texts he received while dealing with this issue, and happy that the procedure was quick.
“It was a very simple procedure,” he said. “Of course, any time you’re fooling with the heart there are some dangers that can occur but fortunately I had no problems at all.”
He took time to thank Senator Briggs for making sure that he got to the hospital in a reasonable amount of time instead of waiting. He also added that it was special for him to be back in session but that today was more important as he and his wife are celebrating 54 years together.
McNally was first elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1978. He has served in the Senate since 1986. In 2017, he was elected Senate speaker and lieutenant governor. His current term ends on 2026.