Atrial fibrillation, or Afib, affects up to 6.1 million Americans. However, many people with the irregular heartbeat condition are unaware they have Afib because it can be difficult to diagnose.

Afib causes the heart to beat either too fast or too slow. Knowing the symptoms is essential because the condition can lead to stroke or heart failure if untreated.

One Solution for Afib

Kirkland Murray, 50, of Beltsville, struggled with Afib for about five years. It often interfered with his busy job as the CEO and president of a nonprofit workforce development organization in Anne Arundel County.

“Your heart beats so fast and it completely drains you, making you feel tired and weak – like you’re going to pass out,” Kirk said.

Kirk is grateful that he’s now Afib-free after having a heart procedure called an ablation in November 2017 at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. Pirooz Mofrad, MD, a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm disorders, performed the nonsurgical procedure.

Ablation restores a regular heartbeat by using a tiny wire to send heat through energy waves. These waves eliminate small areas of tissue that cause irregular beats.

Thanks to his procedure, Kirk is back to serving his community with confidence that his heart won’t skip a beat.

A Surgical Alternative

Some patients, like Bob Bailey, 75, of Silver Spring, have a type of Afib that cannot be treated with medication or nonsurgical ablation.

Niv Ad, MD, a heart surgeon at Washington Adventist Hospital, offered Bob a different solution for his complex Afib – the Maze procedure, a very specialized, minimally invasive surgical treatment.

“Dr. Ad has done thousands of these procedures – Maze is clearly his specialty. That really impressed me,” Bob said.

Feeling reassured, Bob opted for the procedure in 2018 and is now Afib-free. He’s back to exercising at the gym regularly and cycling outdoors.

“Some people are content to sit around, but that’s just not me,” Bob said. “I’ve enjoyed outdoor activities all my life. Now, I’m able to get my life back.”

With Afib out of his way, Kirkland Murray is relieved that he can lead the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation without skipping a beat.

Signs of Afib

If you have these symptoms, call 911:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Inability to exercise
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath

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