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Charles Bergold: Atrial Flutter

Hearing Charles Bergold describe his heart problems, you detect no sense of concern, and you hear no complaints. It’s as if he’s discussing something that is interesting, but not worth bothering about—like the weather. At 75, this World War II veteran conveys the feeling that he’s seen and conquered bigger problems.

His heart condition first became apparent in 1993, when he collapsed while visiting a friend at a hospital. He was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia, and after years of antiarrhythmic medication, he ultimately received an implantable defibrillator. But that was just the beginning of his heart problems. Charles had also developed atrial flutter, which by itself is not life-threatening, but can significantly affect quality of life and lead to other ailments. He also required both a coronary artery bypass and a mitral valve replacement. During the multi-purpose surgery that followed, his physician performed an open-heart ablation procedure to terminate the atrial flutter. Within a month, however, his atrial flutter returned, and he required hospitalization.

Charles’ electrophysiologist, Dr. Jasbir Sra of the Sinai Samaritan Medical Center in Milwaukee, suggested a new approach, using a newly acquired   3000® System to analyze the recurring arrhythmia. After building a three-dimensional map of Charles’ right atrium, Dr. Sra recorded the atrial flutter and found a small gap in the previous ablation area that allowed the flutter to persist. After applying radiofrequency ablation to the area, the flutter was terminated. In the nine months since the   procedure, Charles has not experienced another episode of atrial flutter.

After the procedure, Charles was informed that he was one of the first patients in the country to be mapped with the new   3000® System. He was surprised, but not concerned. But then he takes challenges—like his medical problems—in stride, and it seems that he will for a long time to come.

  3000® map of Charles Bergold’s right atrium, showing gap in the original line of ablation

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