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Life Without AFib: Victor's Story

Monday, Oct 23, 2017

Learn how cardiac ablation eliminated the symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation for patient Victor Lance, who is thrilled to be back to his active lifestyle.

Victor Lance grew tired of "muddling through" life, feeling dragged down by symptoms of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a type of heart arrhythmia that affects the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. His doctor prescribed antiarrhythmic medication to treat his abnormal heart rhythms, but Victor's symptoms continued to worsen.

"When I laid in bed I could feel my heart flip flopping," said Victor, who was diagnosed with AFib seven years ago.

Worse, he couldn't keep up with his active lifestyle. Victor was an active-duty Marine for 20 years, owned a busy landscaping business, and later ran a boot camp fitness program five days a week. But the side affects from AFib slowed him down.

"I was not happy having limitations on activity," said Victor, 62. "I could tell the difference. I was not performing optimally."

A Life Without Afib: Victor's Story [Video]

"Patients with atrial fibrillation can exhibit a variety of symptoms. Symptoms such as heart racing or fluttering often are present, but are not the only symptoms attributable to AFib," explained electrophysiologist Robert Sangrigoli, MD.

"Commonly, younger more active patients develop exertional fatigue or poor activity tolerance associated with AFib," Dr. Sangrigoli added. "At rest a person might not notice the symptoms, but eventually they'll notice a decline in efficiency, feeling more tired, more short of breath."

Victor researched various treatment options, including cardiac ablation. He met with Dr. Sangrigoli and the two discussed the care options that would meet his needs. Dr. Sangrigoli performed an ablation procedure on Victor at Doylestown Hospital.

"Dr. Sangrigoli fixed me. The AFib hasn't come back," said Victor, who no longer takes medication for the condition. "I immediately felt better."

"The benefits of catheter ablation for AFib center mostly on improving quality of life as well as reducing the need for some medications, said Dr. Sangrigoli. "There is also data that successful ablation may reduce the risk of stroke, reduce the likelihood of dementia and even improve lifespan."

"As a physician, it is exciting to see how successful the procedure can be - it really changes patients' lives," added Dr. Sangrigoli. "They have a better outlook overall without the specter of AFib hanging over their head."

Victor is back to his active lifestyle, which includes weight training with his son three days a week. "It feels great. I'm beyond functional – I'm super-functional."

Have Questions About AFib? Download our brochure.

What is AFib?

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common type of arrhythmia, a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart beats too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.

AFib and Stroke

People with untreated atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to have a stroke.

How Many People Have AFib?

An estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib.An estimated 12 million will have AFib by 2050, as the Baby Boomer generation ages.

If You Have Been Diagnosed With AFib

Doylestown Health's AFib Center offers innovative treatment options, including:

  • Lifestyle management and medication
  • Device therapy (pacemakers and defibrillators)
  • State-of-the-art catheter-based ablation: A minimally-invasive procedure that destroys abnormal electrical pathways in the heart

What Is Ablation?

  • A minimally-invasive procedure that corrects abnormal electrical pathways in the heart
    • Radiofrequency ablation (uses heat)
    • Cryoablation: A newer, highly successful technology that uses freezing technology

Our AFib ablation success rates place us among the leading AFib centers across the United States.

The Heart Institute is among the Top 20 in the United States for the number of cryoablation cases performed.

Have Questions About AFib? Download our brochure.

About Doylestown Health's Heart Institute

Expert cardiologists and cardiac surgeons assist patients and physicians with managing risk factors for heart disease, offer advanced treatment options and provide outstanding emergency cardiac care. The multidisciplinary team at the Heart Institute is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care and patient safety.

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