Tag Archives: Lexington Cardiology

Fixing A Racing Heartbeat at Lexington Cardiology

We’re pleased to bring you a blog series called “Meet the Patients.” We share the stories of Lexington Medical Center patients whose experiences will educate and inspire readers about the outstanding care provided throughout our hospital network and the importance of modern medicine.

For years, Natalie Herndon felt her heartbeat racing extremely fast. Many doctors dismissed the University of South Carolina student’s symptoms as anxiety. But at Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, doctors discovered something wrong with Natalie’s heart – and knew just how to fix it. She shares her story below.

Natalie’s condition was called PSVT – paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. That’s an abnormal heart rhythm where the electrical signal goes in a circle around the heart rather than in a straight line from top to bottom. It causes a rapid heart rate and can make people feel palpitations, or fluttering, of the heart. In Natalie’s case, she was born with an extra electrical connection in the heart that allows the signal to move faster than usual. She underwent a cardiac ablation that stopped the abnormal heart rhythm in its tracks.

Since her procedure in July, Natalie no longer suffers from PSVT episodes.

For information on Dr. Christopher Rowley and Lexington Cardiology, visit LexCardio.com.

Heart Disease in Women: A Soap Star’s Real-Life Scare

She’s one of the most famous soap opera stars of all time, starring on All My Children for decades. This week, Susan Lucci opened up about a real-life heart scare she had recently. The actress nearly died from a heart attack. With heart disease being the #1 killer of women, her story has an important lesson about listening to your symptoms and seeing your doctor. Here is an interview from NBC Nightly News.

According to William D. Brearley, Jr., MD, of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, heart attack symptoms in women can be atypical. Chest discomfort is most frequent, however other less recognized symptoms include back pain, fatigue, breathlessness and arm or joint pain. Women do not always present with the classic feeling of the “elephant on your chest,” which is more common in men. Misdiagnosing these symptoms as being caused by stress or a hectic schedule can be deadly.

Dr. William Brearley

“I’ve heard several women say, ‘I never thought I’d have a heart attack,’” Dr. Brearley added. “No one thinks it’s going to happen to them. Unfortunately, that’s not true. More than 200,000 women in our country die each year from heart attacks.”

Women should have an annual physical with a blood pressure check and lipid panel. Symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors should also be reviewed.

A lipid panel is the measurement of different components of cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your bloodstream. There are two types: LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because it contributes to plaque formation in arterial walls. This plaque can narrow your arteries or rupture, causing a heart attack. HDL is called “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol to your liver, where it’s removed from your body.

There are different target levels of LDL cholesterol, depending on risk factors and existing conditions such as diabetes or known coronary artery disease. In low risk patients, LDL should be less than 160 mg/dL. HDL should be greater than 40 mg/dL, and triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL. Exercising and limiting saturated fats in your diet helps to lower your cholesterol.

Don’t ignore symptoms; talk to your doctor. Exercise regularly, don’t smoke, and eat nutritious foods. Be a positive example to others. Heart disease risk factors including diabetes and obesity rates are climbing in our community, in adults and in children. Let’s work on keeping our hearts healthy.

Lexington Medial Center wants you to “Just Say Know” to heart disease. Visit LexMed.com/Know to test your heart health knowledge with a quiz.

Detecting Abnormal Heartbeats with Your Apple Watch

Patients have a new tool to help identify a type of abnormal heart rhythm. The newly released Apple Watch Series 4 enables users to take an electrocardiogram (EKG) from their wrist to check for atrial fibrillation (A-Fib). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the device for this purpose late last year. Since then, we’ve heard a lot of questions from patients about it. Christopher P. Rowley, MD, electrophysiologist with Lexington Cardiology, had some answers.

Photo Courtesy: Apple

Q: What is atrial fibrillation?
A: Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm in which the top part of the heart quivers instead of beating effectively. The danger is that blood there could become stagnant and clot, then leave the heart and cause a life-threatening stroke or embolism.

Q: How does the new Apple Watch detect atrial fibrillation?
A: The Apple Watch uses a unique method where sensors will allow users to record a heart rhythm. The watch can send them a notification if it detects an irregular rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation. Previous versions of the Apple Watch have detected for heart rate, too.

Dr. Christopher Rowley

Q: What does this new technology mean for patient?
A: The idea of having patients monitor heart rhythms at home is not new. We often give patients monitors attached to their chest with stickers or a patch to wear at home. They record their heart rhythm when they’re having symptoms. Then, we correlate the symptoms with the results from the monitor.

The watch aims to do the same thing. It will be worn most of the day. It may even detect an abnormal heart rhythm the patient doesn’t know about. It means we’re empowering consumers to present data to their doctor rather than just starting to figure out a diagnosis during a visit.

Q: What should you do if your watch detects an abnormal rhythm?
A: Call your doctor. It’s also important to point out that the tool is not intended for people who have already been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or as a substitute for seeing your doctor on a regular basis.

Q: Will it detect all abnormal heart rhythms?
A: No. The watch only checks for atrial fibrillation.

Q: How do you treat atrial fibrillation?
A: The treatment is different for each patient. It ranges from simple to complex medications, to an ablation where we go into the heart to identify the bad electrical signals and make them go away.