Our Patients' Perspective

‘It gave me a new life...’

Susan Meyer

Susan Meyer Susan Meyer enjoys her classroom work once again. Susan Meyer enjoys her classroom work once again. She raised three children and worked as a first-grade teacher, so she thought it was normal to always be so tired. But her fatigue was due to worsening atrial fibrillation compounded by mitral valve stenosis. Diagnosed in May 2005, she underwent what she calls her “replacement, repair and remodel” heart operation.

She had a mitral valve replacement, a tricuspid valve repair and the Cox-Maze procedure to cure her atrial fibrillation. “Now I feel wonderful,” she says. “It gave me a new life.” On a recent vacation to the mountains, she outhiked her husband. “I’m lucky to have had such capable, caring people to fix me,” she says of her Washington University physicians at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

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Jeff Strickland looks forward to life
without symptoms of atrial fibrillation

Jeff StricklandJeff StricklandJeff Strickland is a former U.S. Marine devoted to running and exercise. In 1990, he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF). Over time, his AF worsened until it became difficult to run and even life’s daily routines frequently left him exhausted.

Strickland turned to the Washington University Center for Atrial Fibrillation after many years of medical treatment and undergoing  catheter ablations for atrial flutter and pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) ablations. Eight months after his Cox-Maze procedure,  he was free from AF. He also had run three miles on one occasion and planned to start swimming as part of his exercise program.

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Marian Gregor resumes horsemanship
after Cox-Maze IV procedure

MarianMarian Gregor on her Dutch Warmblood horse, JackpotA busy Realtor in Ann Arbor, Mich., Marian Gregor was very concerned about her irregular heartbeat and had expressed her concerns to her doctor, but had not received any treatment. One Sunday morning, her apprehension proved to be justified. As she was taking two of her large horses out of their stable, she had a stroke.

After undergoing four catheter ablations to destroy the heart tissue causing the AF, which did not help significantly, she was resigned to a compromised lifestyle. Then a real estate client told her about the Cox-Maze procedure, and an Internet search led her to cardiac surgeon Ralph Damiano Jr., MD. After having the surgery, she has resumed a busy lifestyle including horseback riding and gardening.

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