• Cryoablation Gave Bob Back His Future

  • Coloradan Bob Knudsen will tell you he "never expected to see 60." Now, at 64, he's ready to get his racquet back on the tennis courts and his RV back on the road.

    The difference, he's explains, has everything to do with the expertise of St. Anthony Hospital cardiologist Tom Svinarich, MD, and a breakthrough procedure called balloon cardiac cryoablation. The new advance is proving powerful in correcting certain forms of the common and life-threatening condition known as atrial fibrillation.

    St. Anthony Hospital became the first medical center in the region to offer the procedure last spring. The increasing severity of Knudsen's condition had moved him high on the waiting list of patients Dr. Svinarich believed could benefit from the new approach.

    Noting that he was "patient #10" for the new procedure, Knudsen begins with the backstory. "In September 2009, I could barely move because my heart raced so much. The event monitor I wore (for the arrhythmia testing) was recording events faster than I could phone them in."

    Consultation with Dr. Svinarich led to his having a pacemaker implanted. And for several months, the a-fib was abated. When it recurred, it did so with a vengeance: 1,407 recorded events in a three-month period.

    "Dr. Svinarich had told me back in 2008 that this cryoablation procedure was being tested, so I had done some research," Knudsen continues. "And I was ready."

    Watching the monitors in the cardiovascular lab during the procedure, he saw as Dr. Svinarich employed the ballooning-catheter at each of the four pulmonary vein portals. "I knew immediately when he hit the bad one," Knudsen recalls. "I told him so...and he nodded."

    Knudsen says he came out of the hospital the next day "feeling great." He's been able to stop one medication and hopes to jettison another soon. He's also eager to give credit to the team that gave him back his future. "They're really great-all of them. And Dr. Svinarich...he is one tenacious doctor."

    Get answers to your AFib & Cryoablation questions at www.coolheartafib.com.

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