Stefan Heeds Warning Signs and Avoids Serious Risks of AFib

 

Stefan Avoids Serious Risks of AFib

After experiencing troubling symptoms and a racing heart on Memorial Day weekend in 2017, Stefan's wife insisted he go to Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Emergency Department. "When bending down to make breakfast, I would get dizzy,” said Stefan. “My wife Kimberly said, 'Let's go to the hospital.' I'm glad we did, as I avoided some possibly serious consequences."


After experiencing troubling symptoms and a racing heart on Memorial Day weekend in 2017, Stefan's wife insisted he go to Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Emergency Department. "When bending down to make breakfast, I would get dizzy,” said Stefan. “My wife Kimberly said, 'Let's go to the hospital.' I'm glad we did, as I avoided some possibly serious consequences."

Stefan met with Dr. Frederman Concepcion, a board-certified cardiologist with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. Ultimately, an EKG revealed that Stefan was experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib), an irregular heart beat condition in which the upper two chambers of the heart do not contract properly. As an initial step, Stefan was prescribed medication to control the episodes.

"The doctors are really good at explaining everything thoroughly,” said Stefan. “They make sure you understand your condition, the procedure and the next steps, so you know what to expect." 

Stefan was scheduled to have an ablation with Dr. Hany Demo, a board-certified cardiac electrophysiologist with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. An ablation is a procedure in which the tissue causing the irregular heart rhythm is frozen or burned using a highly navigable catheter to restore proper rhythm.

In a traditional ablation, an electrophysiologist carefully guides a catheter to the heart using x-ray. Although a fairly low-risk procedure, the patient and the surgical team can be exposed to a level of radiation equivalent to 150 chest x-rays during its length, which can be harmful to long-term health. At Swedish Covenant Hospital, Dr. Demo avoids that risk altogether by using a unique and alternative means of navigating the catheter. 


Stefan Avoids Serious Risks of AFib



“We are currently the only Chicago hospital that performs ablations without the use of any x-ray whatsoever,” said Dr. Demo. “Instead, we use 3-D mapping technology along with intracardiac ultrasound. This method is so effective that we can operate on mere millimeters without any sort of radiation, avoiding associated risks entirely.”

Stefan had a successful procedure and returned home later that day. He was so impressed with the expert care he received that he switched all his health care to Swedish Covenant Hospital. He also gave the doctors and their teams several heart-themed t-shirts to thank them for their care and for helping return him to health.

According to the American Stroke Association, AFib is associated with a five times greater risk for stroke. Patients who have untreated AFib have a 35% chance of having a stroke at some point in their life. The heart fails to pump blood out as efficiently as it should, creating instances of blood pooling, which increases risk of clotting.

"Most people don’t know that AFib can cause your blood to clot, which can lead to a stroke," said Stefan. "Now I feel great and I'm not worried about serious medical consequences, although I still take my prescribed blood thinners as a precaution."

Stefan has advice for anyone facing a medical issue or having unexplained symptoms. "I didn't know what was going on and thought I was having a panic attack," he said. "While it may be hard to diagnose symptoms, if you are having issues you should take notice and share them with a doctor."

Thanks to his new lease on life, Stefan looks forward to spending time with his family and enjoying motorcycle rides on his Harley Davidson along with his wife on scenic Sheridan Road.

Concepcion-F-cropped-for-weFrederman Concepcion, M.D., is a board-certified cardiologist with Swedish Covenant Medical Group and the medical director of Swedish Covenant Hospital’s echocardiography laboratory. His clinical interests include coronary artery disease, echocardiography and preventive cardiology and health maintenance. 



Demo, HanyHany Demo, M.D.
, is a board-certified cardiac electrophysiologist with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. His clinical interests include endovascular medicine, pacemaker and ICD implantation, radiofrequency ablation (RFA), atrial fibrillation, cryoablation and arrhythmia management. He has more than 10 years of experience. 




By Bill Ligas | Published August 1, 2018

MARIA NARROWLY AVOIDS POTENTIAL STROKE THROUGH DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF AFIB

“If I hadn’t gone to the hospital when I did, I could have had a stroke. I love Swedish Covenant Hospital. Everyone there is so nice, from the frontline staff to the nurses and doctors who cared for me in my time of need.”

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