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Getting the Rhythm Back in Nancy’s Heart

Posted on March 14, 2018 in Patient Story

Nancy Thompson's heart rhythm restored after suffering Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB)
Nancy Thompson

A Patient Story

At 81 years old, Nancy Thompson was taking one of the strongest medications available to try to control her atrial fibrillation (AFib), a quivering or irregular heartbeat. It wasn’t working, and she was losing steam.

“I kept getting weaker and weaker. 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.” – Nancy

Cardiac Ablation Restores Abnormal Heart Rhythm

Hitesh Mehta, MD
Hitesh Mehta, MD

Then one day her heart doctor, Thomas Ayres, MD, with Knoxville Heart Group, told Nancy that a new doctor was coming to his practice, one who specialized in treating AFib. He referred her to Hitesh Mehta, MD.

When a patient’s heart isn’t beating the way it should, cardiac ablation is sometimes the best way to get it back in good rhythm.

“Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia in the United States and around the world, so there’s a large population of people who need treatment for it.” – Dr. Mehta

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

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, using resistive and conductive heating. Once the tissue reaches a temperature of about 55 degrees Celsius, it’s typically no longer able to conduct electricity.” – Dr. Mehta

Improved Energy, Quality of Life after AFIB

About a week after cardiac ablation, Nancy says she could tell a difference in the way she felt and that it’s a life changer. She powered through the following months with plenty of energy for the holidays.

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

Thompson says her quality of life has definitely improved, and she’s grateful for the people who made it happen, including Dr. Ayres, the medical staff at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, 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. I’m grateful that it’s done, and I’m feeling well.” – Nancy

Learn More

Call Knoxville Heart Group at (865) 546-5111, visit Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center at, or call (865) 673-FORT (3678) to learn more about our comprehensive heart care.

About Us:

Knoxville Heart Group’s physicians combine more than 35 years of experience and have cared for over 20,000 patients for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. 

Hitesh Mehta, MD practices cardiac electrophysiology at Knoxville Heart Group and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. He has a special interest in cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation (AFib). Click here to see his full bio.