PEORIA – Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. That’s why February is heart health awareness month. Taking action for your health isn’t always easy.
Melissa Finney said, "It just came about suddenly."
When Melissa Finney was 45-years-old, she developed a heart condition that affects about one in 10 people. It’s called Atrial Fibrillation, or A-Fib.
It caused her heart to beat extremely fast. Finney said, "I didn't know if I was going to exercise, am I going to throw myself into A Fib?"
Dr. Timir Bamin is a Clinical Electrophysiologist at OSF St. Francis Medical Center. He specializes in abnormal heart rhythms. He said, “I think A-Fib, we're seeing more of it. You could just be sitting there watching TV and your heart could be beating 150-160 beats a minute and this can drive people insane."
After several trips to the Emergency Room and no lunch with medication, Finney, who is a Registered Nurse, made the difficult decision to go under the knife. “I was so scared to have heart surgery, so even being a nurse, I was scared so I delayed."
Dr. Bamin explained the procedure. “We performed what's called Atrial Fibrillation Ablation procedure. We went through the groin and we put some wires in the heart and we burned areas of the heart to try and end those triggers for A-Fib."
The surgery cured Finney of the condition, allowing her to be active again and live how she wants to. She hopes her story will help others to have the courage to get checked out. “If you're having chest pain, don't wait. If you have an irregular heart rate, don't wait. Because you don't know what could happen."
If you live with A-Fib and don’t get treatment, Doctors said the condition can quickly become life-threatening. A-Fib can lead to a heart attack, stroke or blood clot.