Maria Narrowly Avoids Potential Stroke
Through Diagnosis and Treatment of AFib


Maria Narrowly Avoids Potential Stroke Through Diagnosis and Treatment of AFib

Maria has been a patient of Swedish Hospital for many years. Though what initially drew her to the hospital was its compassion and community outlook, what kept her healthy was the ever-evolving world-class services it offers. Swedish Hospital is a community leader in heart care, delivering the expertise and leading-edge procedures Maria needed to overcome a potentially dangerous heart condition. 

After experiencing symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and elevated blood pressure, Maria visited Dr. Frederman Concepcion, a board-certified cardiologist with Endeavor Health Medical Group. An EKG revealed that Maria was experiencing atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation (AFib), an irregular heart beat condition in which the upper two chambers of the heart do not contract properly.  

According to the American Stroke Association, AFib is associated with a five times greater risk for stroke. Patients who have untreated AFib have a nearly 35% change of having a stroke at some point in their life. The heart fails to pump blood out of the heart as efficiently as it should, creating instances of blood pooling, which increases risk of clotting. 

“If I hadn’t gone to the hospital when I did and been diagnosed and treated for AFib, I could have had a stroke,” said Maria. “I love Swedish Hospital. Everyone there is so nice, from the frontline staff to the nurses and doctors who cared for me in my time of need.”

Dr. Concepcion referred Maria to Dr. Hany Demo, a board-certified electrophysiologist with Endeavor Health Medical Group, who had the expertise to restore Maria’s heart beat to a regulated rhythm. Dr. Demo scheduled her for ablations, a procedure in which the tissue causing the irregular heart rhythm is frozen or burned using a highly navigable catheter to restore proper rhythm.

Learn more about Dr. Demo's revolutionary approach to ablations>>

In a traditional ablation, an electrophysiologist carefully guides a catheter to the heart using x-ray. Although a fairly low-risk procedure, the patient and the surgical team can be exposed to a level of radiation equivalent to 150 chest x-rays during its length, which can be harmful to long-term health. At Swedish Hospital, Dr. Demo avoids that risk altogether by using a unique and alternative means of navigating the catheter. 

“We are currently the only Chicago hospital that does ablations without any x-ray whatsoever,” said Dr. Demo. “Instead, we use 3-D mapping technology along with intracardiac ultrasound. This method is so effective that we can operate on mere millimeters without any sort of radiation, avoiding associated risks entirely.”

After undergoing two very successful ablations with Dr. Demo, a follow up appointment with Dr. Concepcion just a few weeks later showed that Marias heart rhythm was restored to a healthy cadence and that she was free from the potential side effects of her AFib, lowering her stroke risk. 

“I’m feeling great now and my blood pressure is completely under control,” said Maria. “I’m very grateful for both Dr. Demo and Dr. Concepcion. I love life. I have eight kids, 30 grandkids, 12 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. I want the whole world to know that it’s a blessing to have doctors like these. They can heal you and give you back your life.”

Frederman Concepcion, M.D., is a board-certified cardiologist with Endeavor Health Medical Group and the medical director of Swedish Hospital’s echocardiography laboratory. His clinical interests include coronary artery disease, echocardiography and preventive cardiology and health maintenance. 

Hany Demo, M.D., is a board-certified cardiac electrophysiologist with Endeavor Health Medical Group. His clinical interests include endovascular medicine, pacemaker and ICD implantation, radiofrequency ablation (RFA), atrial fibrillation, cryoablation and arrhythmia management. He has more than 11 years of experience. 

To schedule an appointment with either of these physicians, call 773-878-8200.

By David Modica | Published May 25, 2017

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