Monday, December 22, 2014

Like father, like son: Heart issues a family affair

Steve and Derick Wilson
Steve Wilson and his son, Derick, share a love for cars and fishing. Unfortunately, they also share something less enjoyable: heart problems.

Steve’s began about five years ago when he was just 39. “I was having these episodes where my heart rate would slow down to around 25 beats a minute. It happened so often that some days I couldn’t work or even walk around because I was worried I’d faint,” Steve explained. “I saw a cardiologist in Indianapolis, but because of my age it seemed he didn’t believe my heart was in any kind of trouble. I got to where I was really frustrated and worried about the future.”

In 2010, Steve’s aunt urged him to see her cardiologist, Robert Fleming, M.D., at Richmond Cardiology Associates. Dr. Fleming explained that Steve had bradycardia, an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes slow heartbeat. Within a few weeks, Steve underwent surgery and got a pacemaker, and his life soon life returned to normal. Little did he know that his son, Derick, would one day be making an appointment with Dr. Fleming as well.

Derick was only 18 when he began to notice that his heart was beating erratically. “At first, it was just some fluttering, but after a couple of years it was getting worse and worse,” he explained. “My dad’s heart problems were in the back of my mind, and I finally told my parents what was going on.”

Knowing how Dr. Fleming had helped his father, Derick made an appointment with him. Tests revealed significant electrical issues in his heart, and Dr. Fleming recommended Derick see Vuy Li, M.D., a cardiac electrophysiologist at Reid Heart & Vascular Center. Dr. Li suggested radiofrequency ablation, a minimally invasive procedure that has a high success rate and very low risk of complications. The procedure took place in February 2014 and was a success.

“I’ve been feeling good ever since the surgery—my heart still flutters a little bit, but Dr. Li said that’s normal and will probably happen less as time goes on,” Derick says. “I don’t even have to be on medication.”

Now, thanks to the care they received from Reid physicians, Derick and his dad are able to fully enjoy restoring old cars together—without the worry of heart problems to distract them.

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