Main content

    Patient Stories
    Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute

    Candy - Tired of Sedentary Life

    Candy -
    Candy - Tired of Sedentary Life

    Candy was a healthy, active middle-aged woman until a heart condition slowed her down a few years ago. She began experiencing episodes of shortness of breath, chest pain and dizziness and was soon diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a disorder where the heart’s two upper chambers quiver instead of beat effectively. During atrial fibrillation, blood is not completely pumped out of the chambers, greatly increasing Candy’s risk for blood clotting and a stroke.

    Candy’s physician prescribed medications to keep her heart rate down, but they had limited success. Her atrial fibrillation episodes continued, becoming more frequent and more severe.

    “I was much more sedentary than I wanted to be. As long as I was sitting in a chair I was fine, but even the short walk from my car to work was exhausting,” said Candy, a registered nurse.
    After living with the condition for nearly two years, Candy was referred to Stephen Stark, M.D., a cardiac electrophysiologist at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. Dr. Stark discussed various therapeutic options with Candy, including continuing with her current medications, changing medications or undergoing a catheter ablation of her atrial fibrillation, a procedure where a catheter is placed in the atria to “cauterize” the electrical signals that are promoting the abnormal heart rhythm done in the Electrophysiology (EP) Lab at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento.

    Candy decided on the catheter ablation procedure. Utilizing advanced three-dimensional mapping technology, which was funded by the Sutter Medical Center Foundation, Dr. Stark obtained detailed images of her heart. He used these digital images to navigate an electrode heart catheter through Candy’s veins precisely into the heart to deliver ablations and cure her arrhythmia.

    “Visualizing and understanding the complex anatomy of the left atrium and pulmonary veins is critical for the successful treatment of patients with atrial fibrillation,” notes Dr. Stark. “Our 3-D mapping system is a valuable planning tool prior to beginning an atrial fibrillation ablation procedure.”

    One year later, Candy, now nursing director of the Emergency Departments at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, has not had a single recurrence of atrial fibrillation and is no longer taking any medication.

    “I haven’t had an irregular heart beat since Dr. Stark performed my procedure,” she said. “I feel great!”

     

    Back to top | More Patient Stories