HealthWatch: Atrial Fibrillation Heart Ablation

Published 02/16 2014 11:53PM

Updated 02/19 2014 05:33PM

Green Bay, Wisconsin (WFRV) Atrial fibrillation causes up to one in five strokes. In fact, every year in the U.S. about 140-thousand people have Afib-related strokes. Which is why it's important to know the warning signs.

At 66 years old, Ben Finco keeps himself in good shape playing hockey, running and exercising. Then about 6 months ago.

"All of a sudden I start having some issues with breathing," explains Ben Finco.

So Ben went to his family doctor who scheduled a stress test and a respiratory test. He passed both.

But Ben still felt something wasn't right, "I said there is something else wrong. there has to be something wrong because I'm not breathing normally," said Ben.

Finally, after 4 months and more tests Ben gets an answer, he has a problem with his heart.

"Atrial Fibrillation is a chronic problem. It is an abnormal activity in the upper chambers of the heart. It's irregular heartbeats," explained Dr. Imran Rashid Sheikh, Cardiovascular Disease, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

A-fib can cause a stroke if not treated.

"You can develop clots in the heart. Those clots can get dislodged, go to the brain, cause a stroke or cause a stroke and death," explained Dr. Sheikh.

First, Dr. Sheikh prescribed medication. It didn't work. So he performed an atrial fibrillation ablation procedure.

"What the procedure does is it cauterizes a certain location on the left side of the heart which are known to provoke or trigger atrial fibrillation," said Dr. Sheikh.

Aurora BayCare Medical Center just started performing the procedure in January as part of its comprehensive electrophysiology program. Dr. Sheikh and Dr. Mohamed Rahman are the two doctors who perform it.

"Because the patients are from here, they want their procedures done here. They feel more comfortable here. There is no reason why we can't do them here. We have the state of the art equipment now, we have the state of the art physicians now," explained Dr. Mohamed Rahman, Cardiovascular Disease, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

It's been about a month and Ben's back playing hockey and exercising.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include shortness of breath, pounding in your chest, dizziness, lightheadedness and fatigue. If you have these symptoms contact your doctor.

To learn more you can call Aurora BayCare at 866-938-0035 or email <

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