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Irregular heartbeat: Cryoablation stops arrhythmias cold

Monday, March 02, 2015


It wasn’t for lack of trying. Laura Donovan of Cedar Rapids was determined to overcome the sheer exhaustion she felt after climbing a flight of stairs or walking her dog. Laura began an exercise routine and changed her diet, figuring that losing a few pounds would help her feel better. She’d been a jogger in her younger days and typically had no problem recovering from a workout. But now it felt more difficult.

“I wasn’t getting the same results. If anything, I felt worse,” Laura says. “I was in my mid-40s, so I figured I just needed to try harder.”

But by spring 2012, it was clear that Laura’s fatigue was not a question of getting in shape—especially when a short walk to her car one day after work caused her heart to beat so fast she thought it might burst out of her chest.

Laura’s family doctor in Cedar Rapids referred her to a local cardiologist, who ordered tests and an external heart monitor to record and evaluate her heart rate and rhythm. These confirmed that Laura had atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia. An estimated 2.7 million Americans have atrial fibrillation (also known as AFib), according to the American Heart Association. 

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