With a steady heartbeat, Tom's biggest worry is whether to hunt, fish or golf.
A new technology has made the treatment for heart rhythm disorders safer and more effective for patients, and Olathe Medical Center (OMC) has the only doctor in Kansas using this new technology to treat patients with irregular heartbeats.
Ravi Yarlagadda, MD, a cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology at OMC, is using a cryoablation catheter system to restore patients' normal heart rhythm by freezing and disabling the heart cells that were creating an irregular heartbeat.
"This treatment can be an improvement over the heat ablation treatment," Dr. Yarlagadda said. "The advantages of cryoablation are less chest pain and complications after the procedure, less radiation exposure, shorter length of procedure and faster recovery time. In addition, using cold, rather than heat, minimizes the risk of damaging healthy heart tissue and other structures surrounding the heart."
Tom Dials of Leavenworth, a retired Army Colonel, was one of Dr. Yarlagadda's first patients to have this new procedure, and he is very happy with the results.
"Since my procedure, I haven't had any irregularity with my heart," Dials said. "About 60 days after the procedure, I was laying in bed, and it was very quiet, and I could hear that my heartbeat was much stronger. I could hear the rush of the blood. That's a good sign."
Dials was diagnosed with a heart rhythm disorder more than 10 years ago after an EKG during his annual physical exam showed he had atrial fibrillation. He was referred to a cardiologist and spent years using medicine to manage his heart rhythm disorder.
During those years, Dials didn't have the usual outward symptoms of a heart rhythm disorder, like faintness or shortness of breath. But, he was worried about what might be happening on the inside of his body and the long-term effects to his health.
So, in 2010, he took a friend's advice and made an appointment with Dr. Yarlagadda. At first, he continued with the drug regimen. But, when a sonogram showed that Dials was getting thickening in the wall of his heart and the drugs were losing their effectiveness, Dr. Yarlagadda decided it was time to move forward with a heart procedure. He recommended the new cryoablation procedure because of its improved patient outcomes.
Dials had the procedure in July 2012. Now, his atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter are gone. He has had no difficulties since the procedure and is back to his normal, active life, doing what he loves, without worries.