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Rewiring the Heart

A normal heart beats 60 beats to 100 beats per minute (BPM). If the rhythm of the heart goes one beat over 100, a patient’s life is in grave danger. This was the case for Jeffrey Nauser. //His irregular heartbeat was only discovered after repeat trips to the Emergency Room where his life hung in the balance each time.

Jeffrey’s story began four years ago while on a job interview. He began sweating profusely, got lightheaded and weak in the knees. He assumed it was the anxiety of the situation. There he was, soaked to the bone, sporting a beet red face and talking mile a minute. The interview was cut short. As he walked out of the office, he knew something was drastically wrong. He called his physician and described his symptoms. Within minutes, his physician ordered him to take a cab to the nearest emergency room. Jeffrey learned he was experiencing Tachycardia and Atrial Fibrillation, an electrical problem in the heart that causes it to beat much too fast and completely out of rhythm, which could cause a stroke. 48 hours later Jeffrey was medicated, with his heart at the right speed or Sinus Rhythm.

Throughout the next four years the problem got worse, causing more trips to the emergency room and more drugs prescribed. The speed of his heart seemed to respond well to medication; but, the Arrhythmia was another story. The irregular heartbeat became a permanent unwelcome guest in his chest, and he knew something had to be done.

Jeffrey began a tireless search for a treatment. He learned of a surgeon who was performing an invasive procedure to arrest Arrhythmia that had been garnering some encouraging results. After one consultation and further discussion with his physician, he learned the treatment wasn’t for him. And then he found Dr. Davendra Mehta at Mount Sinai. As a Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Dr. Mehta is an “electrician” for the heart. He knew Jeffrey’s condition was treatable with a minimally invasive procedure t hat “rewires” the heart. Dr. Mehta has revolutionized this treatment where a catheter is inserted in the groin area and cauterizes, or burns off, points of the heart causing the electrical problems and the resultant irregular heartbeat. Following the procedure, Jeffrey awoke out of sedation and was delighted to hear that the heart monitor in his room was beeping more normally – 95 BPM. Over the next 90 days, his heart gradually improved. At about 120 days post-procedure, his heart was beating at 80 BPM, a near perfect heart rhythm.

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