How Nancy Got Her Beat Back

Nancy Healey, 73, underwent radiofrequency ablation at Palomar Medical Center in March to treat the atrial fibrillation she was diagnosed with four years ago.

She had been taking blood thinners and sotalol, a medication to improve heart rhythm. Then symptoms worsened.

“I sing in a choir and, oddly enough, it would usually happen in church,” Nancy recalls. “I would feel faint and break into a cold sweat.”

She was prescribed a second drug to help regulate her heart rate. But that slowed her heart too much and made her miserable. “It took away the fainting feeling but I felt horrible – slow and tired and not thinking clearly,” Nancy says.

A heart monitor she wore for 24 hours showed an abnormally low heart rate while on the medications. Her doctor suggested RFA and referred her to Dr. Sawhney at the EP Lab. Nancy was familiar with RFA.

“Some of my friends have had it,” she says. “When Dr. Sawhney said I wouldn’t be awake for the procedure, I said, ‘Let’s do it!’”

Nancy stayed overnight at Palomar Medical Center after the procedure. She recalls the first couple of days as a little “intense” but soon felt well on her way to a full recovery. After her procedure, a cardiac monitor she wore for two weeks recorded no abnormalities.

“I’m very glad I had it done,” Nancy says. “I feel fantastic. My energy level is unbelievable. I swim laps, which I couldn’t do before, and can keep up with the things I want to do. I can vacuum again – for better or worse.”

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