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Heart Rhythm Disorder Patient Stories

At NYU Langone’s Heart Rhythm Center, we are known for caring for people with all types of heart rhythm disorders, including patients who have the most challenging forms of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and those who have been told they were not candidates for catheter ablation treatment.

Our patients share their stories after treatment.

John’s Story About Cardiac Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation

“I went from needing medications that were debilitating to only taking a baby aspirin a day.”

—John, Age 62

As a Secret Service agent, John was part of a team responsible for protecting the president of the United States. When at age 47 his heart developed a dangerous heart rhythm, it put his career—and his life—in jeopardy.

Dr. Larry Chinitz Talks with Patient

John was diagnosed with AFib, a condition that makes the heart beat too fast. His doctors in Washington, DC, prescribed medications that reduced the frequency of AFib episodes but left him feeling tired at the slightest exertion. At work, John nearly failed his mandatory health physical. He needed another treatment option, and called a colleague in New York City for a second opinion.

“He told me ‘I’m taking you to see Dr. Larry Chinitz. He’ll take care of you,’” John says.

Dr. Chinitz, director of the Heart Rhythm Center, told John that contrary to what he’d been told by other doctors, his condition could be treated with cardiac ablation, a procedure in which heat is used to disrupt the electrical pathways that trigger an irregular heart rhythm. The treatment changed John’s life. He kept his job and was able to go back to the activities he loved: running, playing ball with his son, and even mowing the lawn.

“I have been a patient of Dr. Chinitz’s for more than 15 years, and have not had an episode of AFib since 2011,” John says. “I consider myself cured.”

Diane’s Story About Cardiac Ablation for Ventricular Tachycardia

“Everyone is there for you before and after treatment. They sit with you, talk with you, and try to take care of you in the best way possible.”

—Diane, Age 70

Diane was visiting with a friend when she suddenly collapsed, her heart beating so fast that eventually it stopped altogether. Quick treatment saved her life, and she received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator to protect her against future episodes of ventricular tachycardia.

At age 60, she left the hospital happy to be alive, but weak. The medications that were meant to slow her heart rhythm left her homebound. Occasionally, her heart would go into a dangerous rhythm, triggering the defibrillator to deliver a jarring electric shock.

A retired medical technician, Diane had spent her entire career working in hospitals. She suspected there could be another, better treatment that could stop the out-of-control rhythms before they started. Through her research, she found that doctors at the Heart Rhythm Center were among the most experienced in the country at performing cardiac ablation to treat ventricular tachycardia.

“I immediately made an appointment with Dr. Chinitz,” Diane says. “As soon as he saw my EKG, he said, ‘You have to have an ablation. We have to treat you.’”

Over the years, Diane has had three ablations performed at NYU Langone. With each one, she feels more energetic and healthy. Eventually, she was able to stop taking all of her medications. Because her heart is now beating normally, she barely notices that she still has her defibrillator.

“Before the procedures, I would stay home and be on the couch, too tired from all the medication,” Diane says. “Now I’m able to go and socialize with friends.”

Diane has the added peace of mind that comes from remote cardiac device monitoring. Technicians at the Heart Rhythm Center let Diane know right away if her heart is showing any signs of irregular rhythm.

“Each Thanksgiving I text Jane, my nurse at the Heart Rhythm Center, to say I am so grateful I found you and Dr. Chinitz,” she says. “You gave me my life.”

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