By Madison Loethen
Exhaustion, weakness, shortness of breath, and dizziness dominated once-active John Weston’s life. That is, until John met John Verbsky, MD of Missouri Heart Center.
In 2016, John experienced a stroke that took him by surprise. John was a lively man in his early 60s who enjoyed spending time outdoors and golfing. Sure, he had been extra tired the past few months, but he hadn’t thought a lot of it. He already knew he had atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat and atrial flutter, a condition where the heart’s upper chambers beat too quickly. Both conditions can cause heart palpitations and shortness of breath, but so far they had not been something that he considered too serious.
Soon after his stroke, John was also diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle. His cardiomyopathy quickly turned into congestive heart failure, meaning his heart was not pumping blood to his body correctly.
“I was getting to the point where I was so weak and tired that I could hardly do anything. There were nights where I was going to bed at 7 or 8,” says John.
In 2017, John had his first appointment with Dr. Verbsky. Dr. Verbsky is an electrophysiology specialist-expert at understanding and treating abnormal heart rhythms like John’s.
Dr. Verbsky used a combination of both medicines and techniques to get John out of this bad rhythm. He did a procedure called an ablation that burns and scars the heart in a way that causes it to go back into a normal rhythm.
“There’s been evidence that people with weak hearts like John’s are able to do better when they have their rhythm issues corrected. This was certainly true in John’s case. He is now staying in a more normal rhythm and has a stronger heartbeat,” says Dr. Verbsky.
John says he started feeling better right away. The fatigue that was dominating his life was quickly easing, and he even found himself wanting to get back out on the golf course.
“It was just an immediate surge of energy after that. My endurance is way higher, my strength is way higher and everything is just a lot better… I have already played two golf games and walked all 9 holes both times, which was unheard of for me before,” says John.
John says the ablation turned his life around, and he would recommend anyone with a similar condition or symptoms to reach out to the physician team at Missouri Heart Center for help.