Tom King, a husband and father from Winnipeg, recalls the moment nearly 20 years ago when his heart first began racing unexpectedly and irregularly.
“I was out for a walk with my daughter – she was just little – and it came out of nowhere,” says King, 58. “I didn’t know why.”
King soon learned he was suffering from Atrial fibrillation (A-fib), an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by rapid and irregular beating of the atria, the two upper cavities of the heart. It’s a condition associated with an increased risk of heart failure, dementia, and stroke.
Living with A-fib has required multiple medical therapies, frequent blood tests, careful monitoring, and many trips to Emergency at St. Boniface Hospital.
“I’ve always had confidence in the care I’ve received. Everyone – I mean everyone – at St. Boniface Hospital goes above and beyond to help their patients and their families.”
He estimates he’s undergone more than 20 cardioversion treatments, in which paddles are used to deliver an electrical shock that restores the heart rate to normal rhythm. In addition, he’s also undergone 5 cardiac ablation procedures, which work by scarring heart tissue in order to disrupt the faulty electrical signals causing the life-threatening heart rhythm.
In 2018, King marked the first anniversary of his pacemaker implantation surgery. The pacemaker helps normalize his heart rhythm.
King, who played basketball for the University of Manitoba Bisons and has also refereed the sport at the high school level, knows the value of being physically active. He gives credit to the cardiac care team at St. Boniface Hospital for helping him maintain his health over the years.
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