A New Lease on Life

Posted by RR 9 mths ago


Yeung Yuk Kong, an avid marathon runner in his late 50s, received a startling diagnosis six years ago when he sought treatment for what he assumed was the flu. His doctor discovered an irregular heartbeat during the examination and immediately referred him to a cardiologist, who determined that he was suffering from atrial fibrillation (AF), a heart rhythm disorder that involves the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beating irregularly, thereby affecting blood circulation to the lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart.
According to the American Heart Association, AF can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. “AF is a common but potentially deadly heart rhythm disorder which can result in stroke,” says Dr Jeffrey Fung, a specialist in cardiology at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Stubbs Road. “In fact, the risk of having a stroke is five to seven times more for people with a heart rhythm disorder than those with normal heart rhythm.”
While about 80 per cent of AF patients experience symptoms such as heart palpitations, fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pain, some have no symptoms at all. Others, like Mr Yeung, will show some symptoms but remain unaware of their condition. “My heart was not feeling unwell at all. I just felt dizzy when I woke up and got tired easily when I went jogging. I assumed it was the result of a brain surgery I had previously,” he recalls, reflecting back on how he felt for about six months prior to receiving his diagnosis.

After both medication and electrical cardio version (a procedure where an electric current is used to restore a normal heart rhythm) proved unsuccessful in treating Mr Yeung’s condition, he was referred to the Hong Kong Heart Center at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Stubbs Road, where Dr Fung recommended catheter ablation. Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses high frequency energy to destroy tissue in the heart that is causing an abnormal heart rhythm.

The physician first performs an electrophysiology study to map the heart and identify the area that is exhibiting an abnormal rhythm. This is done by guiding special catheters through a blood vessel to reach the heart, and then sending electrical impulses through those catheters to activate and locate the abnormal tissue. The catheters are redirected to the problem area, where radiofrequency energy is sent to destroy the tissue triggering the arrhythmia.

Thanks to the attentive and compassionate team of medical professionals at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Stubbs Road, Mr Yeung felt confident about the procedure and underwent catheter ablation within days of his consultation with Dr Fung. The minimally invasive approach of the procedure meant that Mr Yeung was discharged from the hospital just a few days afterwards, and was even able to go for his first run a month later. “It felt so good! I jogged for about half an hour,” he says. “I was thrilled! I felt even happier than if I had won the lottery.”


Mr Yeung is proud to report that since his procedure, he has achieved more than he ever expected. “I used to jog for three to five km. Since the surgery, I have realized my body is getting better and I can now run for longer distances,” he says. “Catheter ablation really helped me a lot.” No longer on medication, Mr Yeung has made an impressive return to his favorite sport, and has challenged races in Osaka, Da Nang, and Tokyo over the past year. “I feel like a new man,” he says.

For further information on this condition, or to be tested, please contact the team at Adventist Hospital in Hong Kong.

Please support our advertisers:

< Back to main category

Login now