Houston Texans running back Arian Foster will likely undergo a heart procedure in the near future after an irregular heartbeat forced him out of a week 16 football game, reports the NFL Network.
Foster has reportedly had an issue with his heart since he was 12 years old and has had about eight incidents where his heart began to race uncontrollably. The procedure being considered is called an ablation; a minimally invasive procedure commonly used to correct heart arrhythmia.
“When young athletes experience an irregular heart beat, their hearts just don’t perform as well and as a result they can’t do the things they want to do,” says Sean Beinart, M.D., electrophysiologist at Washington Adventist Hospital.
“During an ablation procedure, we use spaghetti sized wire, called a catheter, that delivers heat energy to specific targeted areas of the heart, eliminating electrical signals at the problem area in a very safe, precise fashion,” says Dr. Beinart. “As a result it can eliminate the signals that cause the heart arrhythmia.”
Beinart continues, “Alternatives include taking daily drugs. While in a lot of patients that is very appropriate, younger patients tend to experience more side-effects and it can promote a decline in their quality of life that we’re trying to prevent in the first place.”
“An ablation procedure takes about 2-3 hours,” says Sung Lee, M.D., electrophysiologist and director of the electrophysiology lab at Washington Adventist Hospital. “The patient will usually stay in the hospital less than 24 hours. They can resume regular activities within 24 hours and full activities within about a week. They will see the benefits right away. Some patients feel great the same day.”
Watch video of a local athlete, and father of two, who underwent an ablation procedure and is now back to rock climbing with confidence.