Aaron describes why he chose to have his heart procedure at Ohio State.
Aaron describes how he feels after his heart procedure, and his advice to others who have an irregular heartbeat.
Aaron and his wife Courtney talk about their experience at Ohio State.
Aaron and his wife Courtney describe life before Aaron's heart procedure.

Irregular Heartbeat

Aaron Petrasko's irregular heartbeat increasingly caused him to miss out on things that were important to him – time with his wife and three young daughters.

"Sometimes we were getting ready to go for a walk or go to the park. I would go into this rhythm, and I would just sit on the couch and hope it would pass," he says. "It kind of paralyzes you – you don't even want to leave the house. I felt my heart skipping a beat. I felt it going very fast. It made me think about every single heartbeat."

Aaron's wife, Courtney, was well aware of the condition and the increasing frequency of the irregular heart rhythm. "I was afraid of something aggravating his heart and would tell him to just chill while I took the girls to do something," she says.

Missed Beats, Missed Time with Family

"My irregular heartbeat became an obstacle."

Aaron had a condition called atrial fibrillation. When the heart has abnormal electrical firings, it beats rapidly and irregularly causing fatigue, shortness of breath and lack of energy.

"It really became a huge obstacle and an enemy in my life. I grew to resent it," says Aaron, who had tried medication to treat the condition, without success.

The couple, from Lewis Center, Ohio, discussed next steps. "I want him to be around for the kids and for me," says Courtney. "You don't want him to wake up every day, feeling miserable and not in control of his health."

A Decision and Peace of Mind

"I knew I'd be taken care of."

Aaron decided to have a procedure at Ohio State's Ross Heart Hospital to fix his heart and reclaim his quality of life. He chose The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center over other facilities because of its commitment to new, cutting-edge technology and the staff's openness about the procedure and what the future held for his irregular heartbeat.

"I knew I'd be taken care of and that they'd do the right thing," says Aaron. "That gave me peace of mind."

The medical team kept Courtney informed before, during and after her husband's procedure. "When Aaron was under anesthesia during the procedure, they told me how he's doing," she says. "They were always in contact and keeping us informed. You can't put a price on that. We felt like we were in great hands."

Aaron appreciates that attention to his family. "That's one reason I chose to go to Ohio State," he says. "They took care of my family when I couldn't. They not only cared for me and my family, but they do this with every single patient."

A Sigh of Relief, Full Speed Ahead

"I can live free again."

After the procedure, Aaron says he woke up feeling great. "I saw my wife and gave her a big kiss," he says. "I got a chance to see my daughters, and the floodgates opened. My girls and my wife and my family are so important to me. It was a tremendous sigh of relief."

Aaron doesn't have to struggle anymore to keep up with his three daughters. "My girls go at 20 miles a minute. You can imagine how tough it would be if you felt like you were paralyzed with an irregular heartbeat," he says. "The docs at Ohio State took care of me. I get to do things with my family and I can live free again."

 

  • "I felt my heart skipping a beat. It made me think about every single heartbeat."
    Aaron

Meet Aaron's Care Team

StevenKalbfleisch

Steven Kalbfleisch, MD

Electrophysiologist

Dr. Kalbfleisch works in the Division of Cardiology at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center and specializes in treating cardiac arrhythmias. Dr. Kalbfleisch performed Aaron’s highly sophisticated diagnostic and treatment procedure, which is conducted at only a few hospitals around the country.

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