Continuous Cardiac Care

Wendy smiles for a photo.

The shortness of breath became more frequent and her heart rate spiked without warning. In 2016, activities like climbing stairs and carrying a laundry basket grew increasingly difficult for Wendy from Haldimand County.

“Tests showed that I had atrial fibrillation, causing my heart to beat too quickly,” explains Wendy. “In my case, my heart rate went up to a dangerous 140 beats a minute.”

If left untreated, atrial fibrillation can result in stroke, heart failure or a number of other life-threatening complications.

A shock to the system

Wendy was referred to Hamilton General Hospital and underwent a cardioversion procedure. Through paddles applied to the chest and back, electrical shocks were applied to restore the heart’s normal rhythm – a way of “rebooting” the system.

“After the cardioversion, they did a number of tests,” recalls Wendy. “It was worrisome when results showed my heart was running at only 40 per cent capacity.”

“The care I received across the board was compassionate and wonderful.”

As a result of the continued atrial fibrillation, Wendy underwent a coronary ablation. Over the next three years, Wendy’s atrial fibrillation returned on different occasions, resulting in two additional cardioversions and one more ablation. “It’s been just over a year since my last heart procedure and I’m doing well,” she says.

Discovering cancer

In March 2020, Wendy returned to Hamilton Health Sciences for a routine breast screening at the CIBC Breast Assessment Centre. After a lump was found, a biopsy was performed.

“I was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer,” explains Wendy. “I’m grateful that they found the tumour early and that it hadn’t spread into any of my lymph nodes.”

Wendy underwent surgery to remove the tumour, and had 16 days of radiation at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre.

Gratitude for exceptional care

Her care team continues to monitor Wendy’s condition, but currently no further treatment is scheduled.

“The care I received across the board was compassionate and wonderful. As a retired nurse myself, I really appreciate the high level of care provided. Now I’m back to my regular activities and I’m enjoying time with family, including my lovely granddaughter. I’m extremely grateful every day for the teams at Hamilton Health Sciences.”