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Patient Stories

Patient StoriesCardiovascular DiseasePeripheral Vascular DiseaseHeart ArrhythmiaAre You at Risk?FAQs

Living an active life

In August of 2010, Tony D'Antonio was awakened by the shocks of his implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) malfunctioning. His family called 911.

The 52-year-old has a congenital heart defect known as idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis, a condition that causes abnormal thickening of the heart muscle and reduces the amount of blood flowing in and out of the heart's chambers.

The ICD had been implanted at an academic medical center three years earlier to help keep Tony's potentially fatal heart arrhythmia in check. Physicians at Advocate Condell Medical Center quickly stopped the ICD's continuous shocks.

After replacing the pacemaker, Timothy Alikakos, MD, an interventional cardiologist, recommended cardiac rehab for Tony to help him get his confidence back and get him moving.

"I lost my father, brother and two cousins to the same heart condition," says Tony, who completed 36 sessions. "Condell's cardiac rehab showed me that working out wouldn't trigger an arrhythmia. I'm looking forward again to living an active life," he says.

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A lifesaving decision

After she fainted at home, Mundelein paramedics brought 76-year-old Elaine Workman to Advocate Condell Medical Center, where she went into cardiac arrest. Physicians employed lifesaving measures and once Elaine was stabilized, she was transferred to the intensive care unit. Cardiologists diagnosed her with  long QT syndrome, an infrequent, hereditary disorder affecting the heart's electrical rhythm and typically seen in children and young adults.

"A pacemaker and AICD (automatic internal cardioverter defibrillator) were surgically implanted to control her arrhythmia," says Mehran Jabbarzadeh, MD, her cardiac electrophysiologist.

She's completed her cardiac rehabilitation at Condell Medical Center and continues to exercise at the hospital's Centre Club three times a week.

"I feel great! But if I hadn't gone to Condell, I don't think I'd be here," she says. "I was happy with all the levels of care at Condell."

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Restoring circulation

Forty years of smoking finally caught up with 60-year-old Dian Ratajczyk of Fox Lake, who was diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD). She had suffered three months of numbness and pain in her left leg when she sought care from Shayle Patzik, MD, an interventional radiologist at Advocate Condell Medical Center. Testing revealed that Dian had two blockages in her leg. "I'd heard a lot about PAD, but I didn't know it could be a complication of smoking," she says.

In October, Dr. Patzik performed angioplasty on Dian's leg, an outpatient procedure that widens a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel. Having made a full recovery, Dian's extremely happy with the care she received. "It was actually an easy procedure," she says. "The nurses and physicians were great, and, my leg feels normal again!"

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