Ralph: “Always look for the best”
As the owner of a small manufacturing company that’s been in his family for three generations, 63-year-old Ralph needs all the energy he can get. But a few years ago, he began feeling atypically exhausted.
His general practitioner diagnosed atrial fibrillation, the most common form of heart-rhythm irregularity, and prescribed medication to regulate his heartbeat.
But he also told Ralph that there was another option: a relatively new procedure that could restore his heart to regular rhythm forever. In addition to relieving his exhaustion, it would spare Ralph the high risk of stroke that every “afib” patient faces.
This appealed to Ralph’s business mind: a minimally invasive procedure compared with a lifetime of medication and the potential cost of a stroke. “It makes a lot of sense,” he says. But he wanted to find the best place to have it done, and looked seriously at several possibilities.
When he inquired at U-M, he heard about the electrophysiology team’s prominence in performing the procedure, teaching others to perform it, and studying its use. “I was convinced that this was where I wanted to have it done,” he says.
It took two procedures to tame Ralph’s irregular heartbeat completely, but after each one he was up and ready to go the next day. And today, his heart beats strong — and symptom-free.
Now, Ralph recommends U-M to others with afib, several of whom have been successfully treated. After all, he says, “They are probably the best in the world, and you always want to look for the most experienced and best.”