David was diagnosed in 2009 with mild coronary heart disease which was being managed by medication. He was experiencing recurrent episodes of lightheaded. clammy and mild chest heaviness, and assumed it was related to his current ongoing health issues.
In April, this year, David was having treatment for prostate cancer when he had another episode of symptoms, and hospital staff were able to record a fast heart rate, leading to the diagnosis.
What makes David’s story thought-provoking, is that he had been experiencing SVT attacks for about a year, without knowing what it was and being able to treat it.
SVT is an abnormally fast heart rhythm, arising from improper electrical activity in the upper part of the heart. The symptoms can be obvious, with rapid palpitations and awareness of your heart beat. However, many patients have more non-specific symptoms, like David, which makes it harder to figure out.
He was admitted under the care of Associate Professor Sujith Senevirante, and he had further heart racing. Adenosine (which rapidly decreases heart rate) was administered. As David describes it, “It’s a bit like a computer being rebooted, except it’s your heart – it felt like being hit by a truck”. He was discharged with a follow up review planned. However, he had ongoing attacks, as he describes the attacks “You feel really, really, really terrible for about 5 minutes then you feel just really terrible for about an hour”. They were occurring every day so was admitted to Holmesglen Private Hospital for further management.
Following an angiogram on the 2nd of August, to make sure there was no major cause for the chest pain, it was determined that David would require an ablation. Fortunately, he had been admitted on the weekend prior to the opening of Holmesglen Private Hospital’s new EP lab. David underwent an EP study and ablation, on the first day of operation by Dr. Emily Kotschet. The short circuit in his heart was found, and successfully ablated (burned) with no recurrent arrhythmia.
David says he is now “good as gold’ and calls his ablation “the magical cure”. He has happily resumed all his normal activities including participating in lawn bowls and enjoying his retirement, no longer worrying about his heart.