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8 | Health Matters: Providence Saint John's Health Center While the condition can be silent, arrhythmia is often characterized by an uncomfortable fluttering in the chest, shortness of breath, dizziness or lethargy. Medication can resolve symptoms and reduce the risk of stroke. But for Halff, who is now 77 and lives in West Los Angeles, the initial medication management, which included blood thinners, didn't give him the relief he desired. "These were very, very strong medications, and my life completely changed," he explains. "I started retaining liquid and I basically had zero energy. It was overwhelming, just complete malaise." Halff, who was born in the Netherlands, has been married to wife Malihe for 45 years. The two enjoy travel and walks, especially at the beach. And he'd always loved going to the gym. Feeling as lethargic as he did on the medications was "like a death sentence," he says. Out of desperation, Halff, a semiretired real estate broker, eventually went searching for different medical care. He visited a health care provider at Providence Saint John's Health Center, who recommended he reach out to Shephal K. Doshi, MD, director of cardiac electrophysiology and pacing at Providence Saint John's and director of cardiac electrophysiology research at Pacific Heart Institute. Providence Saint John's has a long tradition of pioneering advances in cardiovascular care, and Dr. Doshi is among those leaders. He specializes in solving a variety of problems stemming from arrhythmia and particularly focuses on nonpharmaceutical treatments. A CANDIDATE FOR ABLATION Halff had received an aortic heart valve replacement years before and finally sought out treatment that could get him off arrhythmia medications. Less experienced surgeons ruled him out for an atrial fibrillation ablation, a small surgical procedure that fixes an irregular heart rhythm by scarring tissue in the heart to disrupt faulty electrical signals. Not Dr. Doshi, though. An ablation, using the state-of-the-art 3D mapping systems at Providence Saint John's, was all in a day 's work for him. But Halff's afib fix was indeed a bit more involved. Dr. Doshi determined Arrhythmias, such as afib, are caused by dysfunction in the electrical signals that coordinate heartbeats.

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