Atrial fibrillation threatened to slow down this former triathlete—that is, until the Washington Adventist Hospital experts restored his rhythm

thomas-scottAs a former triathlete and husband to a professional runner, 61-year old Thomas Scott of Rockville wasn’t used to taking things slow. That changed when heart problems struck.

Since 2012, Scott experienced what he later learned was intermittent atrial fibrillation (a-fib), the most common type of arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm. “All of a sudden, my heart would begin to race,” Scott says.

The condition is related to an issue with the heart’s electrical system that causes the two upper parts of the heart, also known as the atria, to quiver, or fibrillate. For Scott, these symptoms would usually last less than three hours and then disappear.

Worsening Condition

After further a-fib episodes resulted in multiple trips to the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center emergency room, Scott knew he needed to find a solution. Concerned, Marnie Bernard, PA-C, certified physician assistant working in the office of Jonathan Plotsky, MD, in Rockville, referred him to Sean Beinart, MD, electrophysiologist with Washington Adventist and Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Centers.

“I researched several area hospitals’ cardiac programs to compare my options,” Scott says. A radio ad on WTOP persuaded him to visit Washington Adventist Hospital’s website, which at the time featured Guillaume Marçais, a local rock climber whom Dr. Beinart treated with an ablation procedure to correct his a-fib.

“I was immediately impressed by Dr. Beinart,” Scott says. “I knew he could fix me like he fixed the rock climber.”

The Fix

Ablation uses a thin wire called a catheter to deliver heat energy to specific areas of the heart in a safe, precise manner and can help the faulty electrical signals that trigger a-fib.

“Cardiac ablation is often the best course of action for a-fib patients who are younger and physically active,” Dr. Beinart says. “We agreed this was the best option to help Tom maintain a high-quality, active lifestyle without the negative side effects that can develop from medication.”

Since his successful ablation procedure at Washington Adventist Hospital in November, Scott has been back to enjoying mountain biking, weight lifting and cycling.

“I was back to working out within a few weeks!” says Scott, who has a lot to keep him going. “I’m married to an elite athlete, so I better stay in shape.”

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