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High-Tech Heart

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WSVN -- Nothing gives Sherry Young more joy than playing piano for her church, but a serious heart problem was silencing her life.

Sherry Young: "You can feel it in here. You can't catch your breath, you feel like you're going to pass out, it's the worst feeling you can imagine."

Sherry suffers from chronic atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes her heart to beat erratically and shortness of breath.

Sherry Young: "I broke out in cold sweats. I was very lethargic. I was extremely weak, it was just taking over my life."

It got so bad Sherry had trouble walking and was scared to leave the house.

Sherry Young: "This was taking over my life, I had no quality of life, zero, at all."

Dr. Raul Mitrani, Memorial Regional Hospital: "Atrial fibrillation is a disorder of the electrical system in the top chambers of the heart."

Dr. Raul Mitrani at Memorial Regional Hospital says up to five million people in the U.S. suffer from a fib, and even though it's not life-threatening it can cause problems down the road.

Dr. Raul Mitrani: "Blood clots can form in the heart, whether or not patients have symptoms."

Medication used to be the only way to control it, but now a new procedure called catheter ablation is helping patients where doctors use a 3-D map of the heart.

Dr. Raul Mitrani: "Which actually let's us look at these chambers in 3-dimensional space."

Using wires through the groin to get to the heart Dr. Mitrani can pinpoint exactly where the areas are that are causing the atrial fibrillation. Then he uses radio frequency energy to burn those spots, eliminating the triggers.

Dr. Raul Mitrani: "So, when we're burning a piece of your heart tissue, we're more certain we're burning the abnormal circuits and not burning normal tissue, which you need for your normal function."

The procedure is long and highly technical taking up to five hours, but it can fix the condition for good.

Sherry Young: "I can actually bend over, I couldn't do this before."

Since having the procedure, Sherry can put on her own shoes, drive a car and walk up a ramp, all things she couldn't do while living with a fib, and she is back to doing what she loves the most playing piano providing inspiration.

Sherry Young: "I am a regular every Sunday in my praise choir, which is the highlight of my life."

The procedure is not for everyone and it can take several weeks to recover. Doctors say it works in 60 to 80 percent of patients.

For More Information

Dr. Raul Mitrani1150 N. 35th AvenueSuite 605Hollywood, FL 33021Tel: (954) 885-8385www.mhs.net

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