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Cardiac Ablation: Getting the rhythm back in Nancy’s heart

Posted on February 14, 2018 in Cardiology

Cardiac Ablation

Getting the rhythm back in Nancy’s heart


Nancy Thompson, 81, was taking one of the strongest medications available to try to control her atrial fibrillation (AFib). It wasn’t working, and she was losing steam.

“I kept getting weaker and weaker,” Thompson says. “I started to let things go that didn’t absolutely have to be done, and we didn’t go places sometimes because I was so tired.”

Thompson says she pushed through and did what had to be done, but she wasn’t always comfortable doing it. Her heart problem was holding her back. Thompson was referred to Hitesh Mehta, MD, a physician with Knoxville Heart Group who specializes in treating aFib.

Thompson underwent cardiac ablation in September 2017. It succeeded where medicine failed, giving her energy, again.

“It’s a life changer!” Thompson says.

Cardiac ablation works by disabling the heart tissue that sets off or aggravates an abnormal heart rhythm. “We send a radiofrequency current through the heart tissue, causing resistive and conductive heating,” Dr. Mehta says.

Once the tissue reaches a temperature of about 55 degrees Celsius, it’s typically no longer able to conduct electricity.

About a week after cardiac ablation, Thompson says she could tell a difference in the way she felt. She powered through the following months with plenty of energy for the holidays.

“There’s no evidence that this procedure can prolong life,” Dr. Mehta says, “but there’s plenty of evidence that this procedure can improve the patient’s quality of life.”

Thompson says her quality of life has definitely improved, and she’s grateful for the people who made it happen, including the medical staff at Fort Sanders Regional, and especially Dr. Mehta.

“It would take more time than you’ve got for me to tell you how kind and sympathetic and knowledgeable Dr. Mehta is,” Thompson says. “I’m grateful that it’s done, and I’m feeling well.”

To learn more about comprehensive heart care at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, visit, or call (865) 673-FORT (3678).