The American Heart Association’s 5th annual Vermont Go Red For Women® Luncheon on Feb. 16 will offer women the knowledge and tools for a healthy heart. Vermonter Lisa Call shares her success story as a Fletcher Allen cardiology patient.
I have a heart condition called SVT, or supraventricular tachycardia, a primary electrical problem with the heart and its conduction system that causes a rapid heart rhythm. I was born with this condition but did not receive a diagnosis until I was pregnant with my first child in 1991. I remember that day like it was yesterday.
It was a nice summer morning when I went for a swim and my heart began racing. I tried to take my pulse but it was beating too fast to count. The sensation went on for nearly eight hours before I went to the hospital and was diagnosed. The doctors gave me an IV to control my heart rate and, because I was pregnant, ran some tests to make sure my baby was receiving enough oxygen. Thankfully, the baby was fine.
From that moment on, I experienced many rapid heart rate episodes. My doctor suggested that I take some medication to control my heart rhythm and lose some weight because I was very heavy. But my efforts to improve the situation were met with mixed results. I tried the medication but didn’t like the way it made me feel. Whenever I overexerted myself during exercise, the palpitations would return.
Over time, I started retaining fluid and my blood pressure was off the charts. My doctor told me that I was in the early stages of congestive heart failure. It was clear that an ablation would be the only way to treat SVT. Also, my episodes of SVT were happening more frequently. I wasn’t able to exercise effectively, and I was going to the emergency room more often than not.
I decided that I wanted have an ablation to correct this once and for all. That’s when I decided to go to Fletcher Allen. I was referred to Dr. Robert Lobel, a cardiologist who was highly recommended by my primary doctor.
After meeting with Dr. Lobel, I was encouraged by the fact that he was very compassionate and sincere. When I arrived at Fletcher Allen for the procedure last month, the entire staff and Dr. Lobel did an amazing job making me as well as my family feel very comfortable.
The procedure was a great success. I can’t explain the feeling that went through me knowing that I could live a normal life and have the ability to include cardio and strength training in my lifestyle.
It has been only a few weeks since my procedure and my stress level has greatly subsided. I have joined a gym and now workout with a personal trainer. I feel that my outlook on life has changed dramatically for the better, as I no longer have to worry about having another SVT episode.
Thank you, Dr. Lobel.