LIKE MANY PARENTS, 37-year old Guillaume Marçais of Boyds was awakened in the middle of the night by his son. “I jumped out of bed to check on him,” Marçais says. “When I went back to bed, I noticed my heart was beating really hard and fast.”
Past experience told him it was atrial fibrillation, or a-fib, a common problem where “unorganized” electrical activity makes the upper part of the heart beat faster than the rest, causing an irregular heart rhythm.
“I had a-fib 10 years ago. I had it treated but it never completely went away,” he says. “Because of that, I knew the situation wasn’t critical, but when symptoms didn’t go away I decided to get it checked out.”
Marçais went to Adventist HealthCare Germantown Emergency Center, where doctors gave him medicine to calm his heart and referred him to Sean Beinart, M.D., electrophysiologist with Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center and Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center.
“I’m an active person. I climb, run and bike,” Marçais says. “It’s important my heart is in good shape.”
Marçais met with Dr. Beinart, who recommended an ablation procedure, where radiofrequency energy is used to eliminate heart tissue so the abnormal electrical signals can no longer reach the rest of the heart and cause a-fib.
“Guillaume is young, active and healthy, making him a perfect candidate for an ablation procedure,” Dr. Beinart says. “You can also treat a-fib with medication, but we agreed daily medication wasn’t the best fit for his lifestyle.”
Most patients who undergo an ablation will have complete elimination of, or significantly reduced, a-fib episodes.
After a successful ablation procedure at Washington Adventist Hospital, Marçais is confidently back to his favorite hobby, climbing.
When it comes to long-term heart health, he has plenty of motivation. “I have two young kids who climb with me now,” he says, “and I want to give them a challenge for as long as I can.”
A-Fib and Other Treatments
Washington Adventist Hospital now offers patients access to a new state-of-the-art electrophysiology (EP) lab for complex procedures, such as atrial fibrillation (a-fib) ablations.
“The lab is outfitted with technology that allows for the lowest possible radiation exposure for all our EP procedures, which helps create a superior patient experience,” says Sung Lee, M.D., medical director of electrophysiology at Washington Adventist Hospital.“If a-fib is left untreated, it can lead to some serious long-term issues, such as an increased risk of stroke and heart failure,” Dr. Lee says. “It’s important to discuss your treatment options with a cardiac specialist.”