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Restoring the Rhythm of Life: Patient Stories
Maria Gudaitis was indulging in an extra-large latte when it happened: Her heart began racing at about 200 beats a minute (the norm for a resting heart is between 60 and 100). She was terrified.
After resting for a few hours, her erratic heartbeat calmed down — but over the years, Maria would experience the same feeling, with the time between each episode getting shorter and shorter. “It felt like I was running the 400-meter sprint at the Olympics, only I was just standing,” says Maria. She made many trips to the hospital where doctors would shock her heart back into a normal rhythm.
Maria suffered from a condition called heart arrhythmia; the heart beats too quickly or too slowly or skips beats irregularly. Her type of arrhythmia is known as supraventricular tachycardia, which luckily for Maria, the condition caused discomfort but it wasn’t life-threatening.
Time to get help
Fear of heart surgery kept Maria from undergoing a procedure to solve her problem. But when the health problem intruded on her life, she knew it was time to get help. “I was so nervous about something happening, in a car or in the middle of the woods when I was camping,” she says.
She made an appointment with a cardiologist who performed a catheter ablation, a procedure to treat non-life threatening arrhythmias. The procedure cured her arrhythmia — and eased her mind. “Now all I can think is, ‘That was so easy. Why did I wait so long?’” Maria says.
Learn more about our comprehensive cardiac-care services by visiting the St. Joseph Heart & Vascular Center.