Sutter Women's Services
Bob - A Match he Won’t Forget
One Saturday morning while playing an aggressive match of tennis with a few friends, Bob did something out of the ordinary: He bent down to pick up the ball.
Like any tennis player knows, the trick to getting the ball off the ground is popping it up with your racket. But that day Bob bent down to get his ball, and when he stood up, a wave of dizziness hit him like a ton of bricks.
“This was not the normal two- to three-second dizzy spell most people have when they stand up. This just wouldn’t go away,” Bob said. “It was so bad that I asked to sit down and get a drink of water, even though in tennis you are not supposed to.”
After Bob had a short rest, he continued his match. When he was finished, he excused himself because the strange feeling had not gone away. When he got home, his wife, BJ, immediately took him to the emergency room at Sutter Roseville Medical Center.
“When I got to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, I was amazed,” Bob said. “I hardly had to wait and was on a table in no time.”
Once Bob was evaluated, the emergency department team quickly realized that something was wrong with his heart.
“They said the upper chamber of my heart was beating 300 beats a minute, and the lower chamber was struggling to keep up,” he said. “It was a condition I learned after-the-fact to be called atrial fibrillation.”
He was given an IV of Cardizem, which restored his heart into normal rhythm. Bob was then able to return home after about four hours in the emergency department, leaving with a new appointment to his cardiologist, Stephen Peters, M.D.
Dr. Peters assessed Bob’s heart and officially diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation (afib), a condition which causes your heart to flutter with an irregular rhythm. Afib is a common condition that can usually be treated with medication or, in Bob’s case, a surgical procedure known as ablation.
Electrophysiologist Stephen Stark, M.D., performed the ablation procedure in the EP lab at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. He was able to make what he calls a “race track” on the heart, which essentially acts as a roadblock for the irregular electrical impulses that cause afib.
“I was in and out of there in less then an hour,” Bob said. “They were so efficient that, by the time my son had finished parking, I was done.”
Recovery from the procedure was a piece of cake. He only had to stay in the hospital for about four hours before he was released and then had slight tenderness around his groin area where the incisions were made for the catheter. Other then that, he was back to his normal life.
Months after the ordeal, Bob is feeling like his old self. He is playing tennis regularly and is enjoying life with his family.
“My point of view of Sutter from start to finish left me horribly impressed,” Bob said. “Everything went pretty darn well.”
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