Real Men Wear Gowns: Atrial Fibrillation Treatment

Andrew Gonzales has always been active, but then his mom noticed he was becoming more tired and having shortness of breath.
“Initially I thought I was just getting old and I was out of shape,” Gonzales said, “but it felt different.”
Taking his mom’s advice, Gonzales went to his primary care physician.
“[The doctor] said you need to go to the hospital right now.”
Doctors say atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common arrhythmia in men. It affects about five million Americans. Older adults and those with high blood pressure are most at risk and drinking alcohol increases your risk.
Left untreated, the chance for stroke multiplies five times.University Health System’s Dr. Chad Stasik and Dr. Sandeep Sagar performed a non-invasion procedure on Andrew; one that didn’t require open heart surgery.
First Dr. Stasik worked on the outside of the heart.
“So we get around those veins with a radio frequency device and actually burn the heart tissue to block those irregular heart signals to stop the atrial fibrillation,” Dr. Stasik said.
Then Dr. Sagar worked on the inside.
“Wherever there were any gaps in conduction in the  electrical conduction between the pulmonary veins and the heart, we fill in those gaps from the inside,” Dr. Sagar said.
Four months later, Andrew’s breathing better and he’s getting his stamina back.
“You know how like most men we figure we can fight through it, it’s just a stage,” Gonzales said. “I probably would have exercised more and probably would have made things worse.”
You can learn more about the new AFib treatment (and other heart and vascular diseases) at University Hospital.
For more men’s health information, call 210-358-3045.
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