LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Leroy Pronia Sr. suffers from atrial fibrillation, or a-fib. It’s a heart condition that causes your upper chamber in the heart to lose the ability to contract normally, leading to blood clots forming in the heart.
“I have trouble walking 50 feet, 100 feet; I’m so weak. I mean, it just takes away all your energy,” Pronia said.
Dr. Richard Gilmore is an interventional cardiologist at Christus Ochsner St. Patrick hospital. He says for patients like Pronia, the best way to solve the issue is to place an implant called a watchman in the heart where the blood clots form.
“This is a very common condition affecting nearly five million Americans,” Gilmore said. “But we have found that there is a significant risk of stroke, because that upper chamber is not contracting. But many people who have atrial fibrillation aren’t even aware their heart is jumping out of rhythm. So, they may be at risk for a stroke and not even know it.”
Dr. Gilmore says thankfully, we live in a modern era where common technology, like an apple watch, can be worn throughout the day and monitor and detect possible issues with your heart.
“It would give us an idea of how frequently it is happening, the duration, and help us make decisions about whether the patient needs to be on a blood thinner or even a candidate for a watchman device,” Gilmore said.
Patients can also utilize other fitness watches, or as Pronia does, use their phone to keep track of their hearts activity.
“Technology is unbelievable,” Pronia said. “With medicine these days, it’s just a miracle, the things we couldn’t do before. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for modern medicine.”