Joy: Finding her freedom from Afib

Joy Seiler, 55, of Jacksonville, had a racing heart. The irregular heartbeat would hit her hard and would cause her to feel out of breath.

“It would beat faster and then more irregularly and I would have shortness of breath and get lightheaded,” Seiler said. At times, her symptoms would happen when she was driving.

“It was getting very scary. I had to do something or something was going to happen to me,” she said.

Joy was first diagnosed two years ago and placed on medication. But in 2014, her symptoms became worse and by April her irregular heart beat was occurring for four or five hours every day.

Then she found out about a new procedure that repairs the heart without open surgery. She had a minimally invasive catheter ablation procedure in May 2014 at Baptist Health. Venkata Sagi, MD, a cardiac electrophysiologist with Baptist Heart Specialists used the new ThermoCool® SmartTouch™ Catheter to reset her heart beat.

The ThermoCool® SmartTouch™ Catheter is used for ablation procedures in patients with Atrial fibrillation (Afib). Cardiac electrophysiologists at Baptist Heart Specialists were the first in northeast Florida to start using the new catheter last year, according to Biosense Webster, which develops the catheter.

Used for complex cardiac ablation, the catheter helps to improve results, increase safety and reduce fluoroscopy or radiation exposure. The new technology enables doctors to accurately control the amount of contact force applied to the heart wall during radiofrequency catheter ablation procedures.

An ablation cures the abnormal heart rhythm by destroying certain heart tissues that cause the irregular rhythm. During a minimally invasive catheter ablation procedure, doctors insert a therapeutic catheter through a small incision in the groin where it is then directed up to the heart through a blood vessel. Once it reaches the left upper chamber of the heart, the catheter delivers radiofrequency energy to the heart wall to create lesions that block faulty electrical impulses that can cause heart rhythm disorders.

“The SmartTouch™ is an improvement on previous catheters because of the sensor at the tip that allows us to know exactly how much pressure we are using inside of the heart while we are doing the ablation,” said Scott Lee, MD, a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist with Baptist Heart Specialists, who uses the new catheter along with his fellow cardiac electrophysiologists, Venkata Sagi, MD, and Chris Ruisi, MD.

For Joy Seiler, a small sensor has made a big difference. She and her husband own a construction business and she wasn’t able to go out as often to do estimates for remodeling jobs. But since the procedure last May, she hasn’t had any symptoms.

“I’ve been feeling fantastic,” Seiler said. “I’m praying it stays that way. I’m relaxing now and getting on with my life, and it feels good.”

Visit to learn more. Call 904.202.AFIB to schedule an appointment.


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