He's Back on Beat and Living Life

Share Article

William Secor of Bolingbrook, Ill. is back doing what he likes best -- "living life." That's because he underwent a series of procedures at Advocate Christ Medical Center's Heart and Vascular Institute to treat what physicians call one of the most complex heart-rhythm diseases, atrial fibrillation or A-Fib.

I live life, and, right now, I'm not living life.

William Secor of Bolingbrook, Ill. is back to doing what he likes best --“living life.”

That’s because the now retired supervisor for a bar and restaurant supply house underwent a series of procedures at Advocate Christ Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Institute to treat successfully what physicians call one of the most complex heart-rhythm diseases, atrial fibrillation or A-Fib.

It is caused by erratic electrical signals or short circuits arising from the top chamber (left atrium) of the heart. These abnormal signals may result in an unusually rapid and irregular heartbeat, palpitations, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness or even chest pain, explained William Spear MD, director of the Heart and Vascular Institute’s atrial fibrillation ablation program and a clinical electrophysiologist. Advancing age, high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnea are some of the risk factors that can lead to development of atrial fibrillation

One of the more devastating complications of the disease is stroke, said Secor’s electrophysiologist, Adarsh Bhan MD.

But, stroke was not on the mind of Secor when he first started “feeling lousy” several ago as a then-healthy man in his late 50s. “I could not even lift coolers up over bar tops” as part of his job, he said.

Secor was diagnosed then with atrial fibrillation and placed on medications, but the medications just did not seem to work. “I told Dr. Bhan, ‘I live life, and right now, I’m not living life.’”

Secor underwent the first of what would be two catheter ablations, a procedure in which a small, flexible tube, called a catheter, is inserted into a patient’s femoral, or leg, artery and then guided through the patient’s system of veins to the heart. Through the catheter, the cardiologist is able to use an electrode to cauterize tissue around the veins in the left atrium that may be the cause of the electrical signals initiating atrial fibrillation.

For Secor, his disease was a bit more complex than that of the average atrial fibrillation patient, “but the first [ablation] procedure was successful, and I felt better. I returned to a regular routine at work,” Secor said.

But, his heart disorder would not quietly go away. “It started up again, and doctors had to do a second ablation,” he said. Dr. Bhan and his team worked to find more triggers, including some that had regenerated.

The second ablation procedure for Secor was performed in Christ Medical Center’s technologically advanced Stereotaxis Laboratory, where physicians use a minimally invasive, remote magnetic navigation system to guide a catheter to perform the ablation for atrial fibrillation in a low-risk, safe environment. High-frequency radio waves are applied to burn off the offending trigger cells.

‘“We take a comprehensive, hybrid approach to the treatment of atrial fibrillation. We use a combination of medications and, when necessary, procedures to control heart rate and eliminate the electrical signals that cause the heart to beat irregularly, resulting in improved quality of life,” said Dr. Bhan. “The key to success, however, is in the early diagnosis of this disease. Early diagnosis results in the best outcomes. When atrial fibrillation has been long lasting, treatment may require more than one procedure, even a hybrid surgical approach at time to achieve satisfactory outcomes.

“Patients who undergo catheter ablation can usually return home from the hospital the next day and get back to normal activities within a few days,” he added.

As far as Secor is concerned, “I feel like a million bucks. I am back to riding a bicycle and enjoying my grandchildren,” of which he has two – one grandson and one granddaughter. Meanwhile, he continues to see Dr. Bhan regularly. “He takes very good care of me,” Secor said.

More information about the Heart and Vascular Institute’s atrial fibrillation program is available at http://www.advocatehealth.com/cmc/a-fib .

A-Fib Lectures
Physicians at Advocate Christ Medical Center have been presenting a series of free educational sessions to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about atrial fibrillation (A-Fib). Those attending the lectures also have been able to take advantage of free screenings, including a blood pressure check, electrocardiogram, pulse oximetry and a stroke risk assessment.

The A-Fib lectures and screenings are held at several different locations throughout the area during the month of September, which is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. To register for any of the remaining lectures or get up-to-date information, persons should call Christ Medical Center’s HealthAdvisor at 1.800.323.8622 and refer to event code 1C55.

Below is a list of the A-Fib lectures and screenings, with times and locations:

  •     Wednesday, September 19, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

William Spear, M.D., Electrophysiologist
Oak Lawn Library, 9427 S. Raymond Ave., Oak Lawn

  •     Wednesday, September 26, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Thomas Bump, M.D., Electrophysiologist
Advocate Christ Outpatient Center, 12350 S. Harlem Ave., Palos Heights

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website