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Cardiac Procedure Corrects Young Mother's Dangerously Rapid Heartbeat

Eight weeks after giving birth, Danielle felt heart palpitations so severe she decided to go to the emergency room. But first, thinking of her son, Caden, she pumped some breast milk so her husband, Rami, could feed him in her absence.

By the time Danielle arrived at Memorial Hospital Pembroke, her heart was hammering at 270 beats per minute and her vision was beginning to blackout.

What Makes a Heart Go Haywire?

Danielle, 29, was having a life-threatening episode of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), a type of arrhythmia caused by faulty electrical impulses in the heart's upper chambers.

After Danielle's condition was stabilized, she was told she had two options: she could take a daily medication for the rest of her life, or undergo a procedure called catheter ablation, which could correct the condition permanently.

When Danielle learned that the medication was incompatible with breastfeeding, she knew that catheter ablation was the right choice for her. The physician she chose for the procedure was cardiologist Raul Mitrani, MD, FACC, Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Memorial Regional Hospital, who is also on the medical staffs of Memorial Regional Hospital South, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, Memorial Hospital West and Memorial Hospital Pembroke.

Enter the Cardiac Expert

Danielle and Rami liked the fact that Dr. Mitrani was an electrophysiology specialist who had taught at the University of Miami School of Medicine. With 15 years of experience performing catheter ablation, he had the theoretical knowledge and practical experience to merit their complete confidence.

His bedside manner was excellent, too. "I felt comfortable with him right away," says Danielle. "I would recommend Dr. Mitrani to anyone and everyone. He is professional and intelligent, and he spoke in terms I could understand."

Two days later at Memorial Regional Hospital, Danielle prepared for the procedure with a dose of adrenaline to induce another SVT attack. Then Dr. Mitrani guided a catheter into her heart and used powerful radio waves to selectively destroy the areas of cardiac muscle that were generating the abnormal electrical impulses.

Light anesthesia was all it took to keep Danielle relaxed and pain-free the entire time.

After the procedure, Dr. Mitrani tested her heart with another dose of adrenaline. When her heart didn't pound like a jackhammer, he knew the surgery was successful.

"It is very gratifying that we can cure her within a couple days so she and her family can resume their normal lives," says Dr. Mitrani.

Just a few days after the procedure, Danielle was able to return to breastfeeding Caden.

"I feel like a new person now," says Danielle. "Caden had been a part of me for nine-and-a-half months, and he had been in my arms for eight weeks. Nursing him was my number-one priority, and because of this procedure, I'm able to do that."


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