For 59 year-old Michael Trovato, Jr. his life began to dramatically change 13 months ago. His heart began racing, he couldn’t sleep, his energy level was low, and he suffered from severe shortness of breath. Life as he knew it began to stop. “As the months went by, I couldn’t even golf or bowl any more – two hobbies that I avidly have done for years,” said the Tinley Park resident . “My health declined so poorly that I was unable to work 6 months prior to having my heart ablation procedure at Silver Cross Hospital. But now, I’m thrilled to report that I am a new man thanks to the fantastic care I received from Dr. Shroff and the staff at Silver Cross. My heart rate has slowed down, I’m sleeping 6 to 7 hours a night and I’m enjoying an active lifestyle once again.”
Michael’s family practice physician referred him to cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. Sunil Shroff who immediately diagnosed Michael with Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib).
For the over 3 million people in the U.S. who live with A-Fib, every day life is a challenge. And for Michael Trovato, Jr. everyday life became overwhelming.
“After trying various medications that didn’t offer me any relief, I knew I needed to do something to improve my health,Michael said. “I am so glad to have met such an experienced and knowledgeable doctor as Dr. Shroff who offered me a better solution by performing an ablation of my heart.”
What is Atrial Flutter/Atrial Fibrillation?
Electrical system problems of the heart may make the atria beat faster than normal. “If the atria beats quickly, but still evenly, it is called atrial flutter. If the atria beats very quickly and unevenly, it is called atrial fibrillation, which was what Michael suffered from for over a year,” says Dr. Sunil Shroff, cardiologist at Silver Cross Hospital who specializes in electrophysiology.
With atrial fibrillation, cells in the atria (upper chambers of the heart) send fast, irregular and uncoordinated electrical signals to the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart). These extra signals make the atria beat very quickly and unevenly. As a result, the atria may beat so fast and unevenly that it may quiver instead of contracting fully for each heartbeat.
“If the atria does not contract, it doesn’t move enough blood into the ventricles. This is what leads to symptoms such as dizziness and weakness,” said Dr. Shroff. “So blood that isn’t kept moving can pool and form clots in the atria. These clots can move into other parts of the body and cause serious problems, such as a stroke.”
Common symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation are palpitations (a fluttering, fast heartbeat), weakness or tiredness, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, dizziness or lightheadedness, or fainting spells.
What Causes this to Occur?
Hypertension (high blood pressure) and valvular heart disease- especially mitral stenois and mitral insufficiency- increase the risk of atrial fibrillation. Many people (up to 50% of patients) get A-Fib after open-heart surgery. Extreme emotional or physical stress such as severe infections, severe pain, and thyroid problems can trigger A-Fib as well. Some cases have been reported where caffeine (in coffee, tea, sodas) and chocolate (in large amounts) also trigger episodes of A-fib. Also, many times atrial fibrillation has no known precipitating cause.
Come learn more about A-Fib and the latest treatment options available such as ablation of the heart at a free lecture hosted by Silver Cross Hospital and Dr. Shroff. Slowing Down A Fast Beating Heart will be held Wednesday, December 10 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, Pavilion A, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd, New Lenox. Register to attend online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).