Joan Smith's Story
"Something happened and I knew I had to
finally get this problem resolved."
Joan Smith has spent most of her adult life with frightening heart palpitations that could sometimes cause her heart to beat very rapidly for hours. The episodes began when she was 18, and occurred a few times a year. But as she got older, they happened more and more frequently, despite medication. Two years ago, Joan's primary care physician referred her to BMC Electrophysiologist Peter Hahn, MD.
"I put off making the appointment for another year," she said. "And then something happened and I knew I had to finally get this problem resolved."
One evening, Joan's heart began beating so rapidly that she passed out in her kitchen. "That had never happened before. I realized I really needed to see Dr. Hahn."
Electrophysiologists are board-certified cardiologists who have advanced education and training in the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms. Dr. Hahn explained that Joan had an electrical abnormality in her heart that was causing her palpitations. He recommended an EP study and ablation - procedures that diagnose the abnormal heart rhythm and then target and electrically eliminate the abnormal tissue, preventing the electrical short circuit from recurring.
"I was anxious, but Dr. Hahn spent over an hour with me during our first visit," she said. "He took his time, answered all of my questions, and completely explained the process to me."
Joan was awake throughout the procedure but was given medication to relax. "I felt very comfortable - like I was in good hands," she said. She was discharged from the hospital the same day, and spent three days taking it easy before returning to work.
"I'm so glad I don't have to worry about this anymore," she said. "After living in Atlanta and Boston for many years, and hearing about hospitals with big names, I wondered if I should go elsewhere. I was also worried about having a procedure done on a vital organ here in Pittsfield. But the reassurance in Dr. Hahn's voice convinced me to have it done at BMC, and it was absolutely the right decision."