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Don’t take heart beats for granted

Procedure alleviates daily worry for Sioux Falls woman

A human heart beats more than 100,000 times per day. Most people don’t think about it. It just beats.

For 48 years, Linda Rodman was like most people.

Then, one day in 2007, Rodman felt her heart start racing. Her husband took her to the Sanford Emergency Room.

It was there that Rodman met cardiologist Scott Pham, MD, and the Sanford cardiac care team she would come to know very well over the next several years. She recalls Dr. Pham coming in to check on her and diagnosing her with atrial fibrillation. He said that if her heart didn’t slow down by morning they would have to administer an electrical cardioversion to get her heart back in normal rhythm.

Thankfully, the next day her heart converted back into a normal rhythm and there was no need for the electrical current.

After her initial diagnosis, Linda was put on medications to help keep her heart in rhythm.  However, over the next few years, even with adjustments in the medications, she had more and more frequent episodes of irregular heartbeats resulting in trips to the Sanford Emergency Room for a cardioversion. 

Dr. Pham began discussions with her about a surgical option called cardiac ablation that had the potential to fix her heart issue. Cardiac ablation is a procedure that can correct heart arrhythmias through the use of long flexible tubes (catheters) which are threaded to the heart to correct structural problems.

“As a cardiology team, it is our job to guide our patients in understanding all of their options,” Dr. Pham explains.

In 2013 Rodman came to the realization that medication alone wasn’t going to control her increasingly frequent episodes of atrial fibrillation and decided it was time to have the ablation.

“Until that time, I was always the one who said, ‘I’m back in rhythm now, we’ve adjusted my medications, I’ll be fine,’” Rodman explains. “Dr. Pham, and the emergency room doctors, all brought the ablation to my attention and I would always say that I was just going to try this new dosage or new medicine out and see if it gets better.”

She is thankful for the care provided by Dr. Pham and the Sanford team during her journey.  She says her questions were answered every step of the way in an open manner, telling her what to expect.

“Providing the care we do, making decisions about what is best for our patients, requires a great team,” Dr. Pham adds.

Since her 2013 procedures, Linda says she’s amazed at what a difference the ablations made.

“I wish I would have agreed to the ablation sooner.  I had the procedure done twice to correct the different areas in my heart that were causing my problems. Both times I was in the hospital just one night and went home the next day. It made all the difference in the world,” she said. “I’m just thrilled because now there are many days I don’t even think about my heart. It used to be every single day I was thinking about it and wondering if this was the day it would go out of rhythm and if I’d need to make another trip to the ER.”

Now, Rodman is back to living life and being able to do those things she missed out on through the years. She encourages women to not hesitate to make an appointment with the Sanford cardiology team if they, too, have irregular or racing heartbeats or if they have any questions about their heart health.

“Maybe it’s nothing, but what if it is something?” she asks. “There’s a great team at Sanford Heart to help take care of you. It’s well worth your time and it will give you peace of mind to get it checked out.”

Schedule an appointment with one of the Sanford Heart experts by calling

(605) 312-2200 or (877) 220-2929.

Posted Date: January 2017