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My Crozer-Keystone Story: Robert Leboffe, Electrophysiology Patient

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By Mary Wascavage

My Crozer-Keystone Story: Robert Leboffe, Electrophysiology Patient

Robert Leboffe (left) with Crozer-Keystone electrophysiologist Sandeep Sharma, M.D. (right)

In 2009, Robert Leboffe was doing a pre-trip inspection underneath a tractor trailer when a cardiac episode hit. When he went to stand up, he was suddenly overcome with extreme dizziness. He discussed the episode with his primary care doctor, who said that he needed to see a cardiologist. At age 65, this was a little daunting for Leboffe; he didn’t know what to expect.

A prior evaluation discovered the source of Leboffe’s dizziness—atrial flutter, a condition in which the upper chambers of the heart beat faster than the lower chambers.

On February 20, 2009, Leboffe had a catheter ablation for atrial flutter, a procedure in which the areas of the heart that maintain the abnormal rhythm are selectively destroyed. However, in the years following the procedure, Leboffe still wasn’t feeling like himself. He had gone back to work but still had to frequently go to the doctor’s, trying to live with a heart that was out of rhythm. He had developed atrial fibrillation that lasted up to a few hours at a time. It was difficult dealing with the heart palpitations, and Leboffe was more than ready to have his symptoms alleviated.

Leboffe went back to the doctor’s office, but this time opted to see Crozer-Keystone electrophysiologist Sandeep Sharma, M.D., who specializes in treating abnormal heart rhythms. Leboffe had read about Sharma before meeting with him and had heard many good things. After meeting in person, it was clear that Sharma was an expert in his craft, and Leboffe felt comfortable speaking with him about his recurring cardiac issue.

Sharma explained to Leboffe that he had atrial fibrillation and was going to need a catheter ablation. Atrial fibrillation is characterized by irregular rapid heartbeats that can reach levels as high as 200 beats per minute, in contrast to the normal rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Leboffe had his second catheter ablation on September 14, 2016. Sharma has high hopes for Leboffe’s recovery, stating, “Robert did very well post-procedure and he is 80 percent likely, if not more, to continue to be free of atrial fibrillation one year after his procedure. Recent data has shown higher success rates with the contact force-sensing ablation catheters that are used in our electrophysiology laboratory at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Certainly, Robert has avoided the need for additional medication by undergoing this procedure and continues to live a normal life.”

Since Leboffe’s procedure, he has experienced no other symptoms or complications. He is happy to have had his procedure done by Sharma, saying that “Dr. Sharma made me feel as though he was in on my pain. He spends a little extra time focusing on the individual, rather than just the body itself.”

Crozer-Keystone is a longtime leader in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with cardiovascular disease. For more information, visit crozerkeystone.org/Heart. Call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258) to find a cardiologist or cardiovascular surgeon who’s right for you.

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