Restoring Your Heart's Rhythm: Edith Lacaro

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After recovering from an aortic aneurysm in her forties, Edith Lacaro spent the next several years feeling good. "I was active and doing great," she recalls. "But then I started feeling very tired. I used to walk a lot and I had trouble with that. I didn't tell anyone what I was feeling though because I was worried they would tell me I need to go to the doctor."

Last summer, at the age of 59, Edith realized she needed to take care of herself. She scheduled an appointment with her cardiologist in Woodland, where she lives.

"My cardiologist - who is very good - told me, 'You need to go see Dr. O'Neill at Mercy General.' And when I got there and he saw my tests, he asked me why I waited so long to come. And I told him - I was busy. And I was a little scared!"

Edith is not alone in her fear. Often the fear of what may be is what keeps women from going to the doctor, even when they know they should. Fortunately, Edith saw Dr. O'Neill in time.

Dr. O'Neill explained to Edith that her symptoms were being caused by atrial fibrillation - a common condition that affects more than five million Americans. "AFib," as it is known, affects the rhythm of the heart, causing it to beat irregularly. This can cause your brain and other organs to not get the blood supply they need.

Dr. O'Neill told Edith she would need an ablation - a minimally invasive procedure in which the physician destroys the abnormal heart tissue that is causing the problem. While ablation is a common procedure, Edith's was quite involved and took more than four hours.

"I was so impressed with the whole team at Mercy General - Dr. O'Neill, the anesthesiologist, the nurses. They were like an orchestra - all working together perfectly. Dr. O'Neill told me exactly what he was doing and I felt very comfortable."

Edith underwent her ablation last summer. She recovered quickly and without any complications.

"I did not know that the procedure would work this well! It has given me a new lease on life."

Today Edith has returned to her past activity level, exercising and spending weekends with her grown daughter Nicole and her husband Fred. They enjoy spending time together in the outdoors and recently took a trip to Europe. Edith is thrilled to report that on that trip she walked everywhere and never ran out of energy or became short of breath.

"The procedure did wonders for me. It really worked! In fact, I'm so active now my husband might say it worked too well," she says with a laugh. "I told Dr. O'Neill, you gave me a new heart! My heart can love again - and I love you, Dr. O'Neill!"

For more information on atrial fibrillation, visit our website.

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