Green Bay (WFRV) At least 2.7 million americans are living with atrial fibrillation or AFib. Atrial fibrillation is a quivering or irregular heartbeat which sometimes can feel like a fluttering in the chest. The condition can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
The condition can be deadly- but there are procedures out there that can put patient’s hearts back into rhythm.
Sandra Franzen is enjoying life, “I’m gardening I’m babysitting grandchildren,” Sandra Franzen, AFib patient, said happily.
Three years ago Sandra was extremely fatigued and would wake up from an irregular heart beat, “I couldn’t walk from my bedroom to my kitchen,” said Sandra.
She was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, “When the upper chambers rather than contracting like this start fibrillating like this,” explained Dr. Vinay Mehta, MD, electorphysiologist, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.
Her doctor put her on medications but Sandra developed significant side effects, “My heart would wake me at two in the morning and its pounding away,” said Sandra.
So she went to Dr. Vinay Mehta at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, “So rather than her heart pumping effectively like this her heart was virtually going like this and pumping out very little blood,” explained Dr. Mehta.
Sandra was now a candidate for an AFib ablation, “We literally go into the heart through the veins of the legs and cauterize the abnormal circuits that cause AFib.” explained Dr. Mehta.
Kick starting the heart into a normal rhythm, “So once the abnormal circuits are gone the likelihood of having AFib is decreased,” explained Dr. Mehta.
Sandra’s heart function recovered – but a few months later, “I was still tired,” said Sandra.
Sandra had developed an atrial flutter, “That’s another abnormal heart rhythm that usually coexists with atrial fibrillation,” explained Dr. Mehta.
Dr. Mehta performed an atrial flutter ablation, “And her heart function recovered again,” said Dr. Mehta.
“I woke up the next day knowing I’m back,” said Sandra, who is now doing things she couldn’t do before the ablations, “I could walk again, I could dress myself, I could cook.”
Signs of atrial fibrillation are heart palpitations, tiredness, fatigue and not being able to do as much as you used to do.
Unfortunately, Dr. Mehta says many times people attribute the signs as getting older and don’t go see their doctor. If you have these symptoms you should see your doctor.