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Stereotaxis: A Safer Way to Perform Cardiac Ablation

RichardLeibold1Dick Leibold, whose heart now beats at a normal rate, has plenty of energy to oversee his maintenance-and-repair service and his enthusiastic and much-loved “employees.”

Richard Leibold, age 63, has a 20-year history of heart problems, including heart valve leakage and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Over the years, his cardiologist treated his symptoms with non-invasive procedures, including medication and cardioversion (electric shock).

As time went by, Dick experienced more worrisome symptoms, including increased fatigue and heart rates as high as 130 beats per minute (normal is between 60 and 100). He also knew that his type of arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, increased his risk for developing blood clots and a subsequent stroke.

While the causes of atrial fibrillation remain unknown, certain factors are associated with the condition, including thyroid dysfunction, high blood pressure, impaired heart pumping function and prior heart surgery. Recent research also suggests, in rare instances, a genetic predisposition. The condition is more common among people age 60 and older.

Finally, in June 2010, Dick underwent open heart surgery to repair his leaky mitral valve. At the same time, his cardiothoracic surgeon performed a cardiac ablation in hopes of correcting his arrhythmia. Within months, however, his abnormal heart rhythms returned. A subsequent cardiac ablation, performed by Mark Krebs, MD, director of cardiac electrophysiology at Miami Valley Hospital, did not produce long-term results.

Fortunately for Dick, Miami Valley Hospital’s new Heart and Vascular Center, which opened in December 2010, was equipped with an advanced piece of equipment called Stereotaxis. In recent years, cardiologists worldwide have been using this technology to perform coronary interventions, including cardiac ablation, with excellent results.

In July 2011, Dick was the first patient to undergo a Stereotaxis-aided cardiac ablation in the electrophysiology (EP) lab at Miami Valley Hospital. Dr. Krebs, who is fellowship trained in cardiac electrophysiology, performed the three-hour procedure. Dick stayed overnight at the hospital and recuperated at home for a few days before returning to work. 

Although Dick is still on heart medication, it’s far less than before. And he is off all anti-arrhythmic medications. Today, Dick’s heart rate is 70 beats a minute, and he has energy to spare.

Retired from the city of Dayton after a 34-year career as an operations manager, Dick said he’s still on call “24 hours a day.” He owns a maintenance-and-repair business and oversees 40 apartment units as well as other properties. When he’s not working, his life revolves around his seven grandchildren and their many activities, including soccer and bowling.

It appears Dick’s third cardiac ablation was the proverbial “third-time the 

Liebold3
There is plenty of room in Dick Leibold's
newly repaired heart for his seven
grandchildren. Pictured, left to right, are
Tom, Ella and Kevin Leibold and, in
front, Annie Leibold. Not pictured are
 Claire Leibold and Sean and
Justine Naas.
Keeping Busy

The EP lab at Miami Valley Hospital has been busy since Dick Leibold was the first to undergo Stereotaxis-aided cardiac ablation there in July. 

Dick has also been busy. In late summer, he took five of his grandchildren on a 10-day vacation to Disney World. “That’s something I would never have been able to do before,” he said of his new lease on life.

Signs of Arrhythmia

  • A fluttering feeling in the chest
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting or near fainting
  • Fatigue

For more information call MVH Cardiology Services at (937) 208-7855.

These Miami Valley Hospital locations offer Cardiology Services.
Cardiology and Vascular Services at Miami Valley Hospital
Premier HeartWorks at Miami Valley Hospital South
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