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.

I was going to be taken care of at Ohio State

Aaron describes why he chose to have his heart procedure at Ohio State.

I can live free again

Aaron describes how he feels after his heart procedure, and his advice to others who have an irregular heart beat.

Ohio State took care of my family when I couldn't

Aaron and his wife Courtney talk about their experience at Ohio State.

It became a huge obstacle in my life

Aaron and his wife Courtney describe life before Aaron's heart procedure.

Missed beats, missed time with family

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

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,” Aaron says. “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

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.”

Why choose Ohio State for treatment of irregular heartbeat?

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is home to the largest electrophysiology (EP) program in Ohio and one of the top in the nation. Our electrophysiologists have unsurpassed expertise in treating heart rhythm disturbances including atrial fibrillation ablation procedures. In 2011, Ohio State’s EP specialists performed more than 600 atrial fibrillation ablation procedures.

Atrial fibrillation ablation is a highly technical procedure that requires advanced technology and infrastructure and teamwork. This includes specially trained EP nurses who staff the procedure lab and inpatient unit around the clock, and pharmacists who specialize in EP and adjust patients’ medications.

Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center is equipped to address any atrial fibrillation treatment need a patient may have and does so with complication rates far lower than the national average.

In addition to providing impressive numbers of atrial fibrillation ablation procedures, Ohio State’s size and status allows us to pioneer developments including:

  • Direct mapping of the specific electrical abnormalities that cause atrial fibrillation. Previously, ablation focused on a general area. New computer-based mapping of abnormal circuits allows electrophysiologists to focus on specific regions for ablation. This minimizes the amount of unnecessary ablation and shortens the procedures. We are one of only three U.S. hospitals using this investigational tool.
  • Contact pressure catheter. Traditionally, an electrophysiologist uses the sense of touch to estimate where to ablate during a procedure. Our experts are working with a contact pressure catheter with a spring in the tip to provide greater precision. When the physician pushes against the heart wall, the spring depresses and the instrument measures the pressure against the wall. This provides the physician with direct feedback to minimize complications and maximize the effectiveness of the procedure.

Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center’s electrophysiology expertise, technology and experienced staff contribution to the Heart Hospital’s recognition as a national leader in heart care by U.S.News & World Report.

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