– [Steve] It would be like if you’re
standing on a dock and a boat goes by. The initial waves, you feel them,
and you kind of rock a little bit. And then as the boat gets closer,
the waves get bigger, you rock a little bit more. Finally,
the boat passes, and the big waves come. And that’s when it would go off.
It’s like being kicked in the chest. – [Steve’s Wife] Steve has a love of life,
just wants to go and do and see as much as he can. In April 2016,
we had planned on going on a cruise with some friends.
It was going to be an amazing time. – And that’s when everything went
sideways. I wasn’t feeling very good. I had a hard time walking,
as far as walking upstairs. Me, I thought it was just indigestion. – At some point between the flight and
getting on the cruise ship, by the evening of the first night is when
we went to the ship doctor and it was determined that he
had had a heart attack. My next thought was, well,
we have to get him out of here because this is not a full-fledged
medical facility that can help him, so our goal was to get him back home to his Kaiser Permanente
healthcare system. – [Dr. Lou] So prior to meeting Steve,
he had been through a lot. He had suffered a major heart attack on
the cruise ship, and he had suffered two strokes. He had suffered some bleeding
in his brain, and what was even more alarming was the fact that he was passing
out on a frequent basis. When patients pass out after a heart
attack, we always worry that it may be due to an abnormal, chaotic,
fast heart rhythm that’s affecting his heart. The decision was made to
implant a defibrillator. – [Steve’s Son] A bunch of family and
friends were there the day that the defibrillator was put in. Everything
seemed to be going fine until, later that night in the middle of the
night, the defibrillator started going off, and his health really went downhill. – They would shock me, and I’d pass out.
And then I’d wake up like 15 seconds later and resume a conversation,
but everybody is kind of looking at me. – Steve was having multiple episodes of
ventricular fibrillation. What that means is that the beat was not
an organized heart beat, but a more of a chaotic, electrical storm.
I started to look at his tracings very, very closely, and what I noticed was that
every time he starts this ventricular fibrillation,
it was coming from the same location of his heart. And that led me to the idea
that perhaps we can target where this abnormal beat was coming from,
and if we got rid of that abnormal beat, perhaps he won’t have these episodes of
ventricular fibrillation. – It appeared that there was a bunch of
scar tissue that had built up on his heart, and this heart ablation
was a procedure that could remove the scar tissue that had built up and get his heart
pumping back in a normal rhythm. – Our ablation system involves a catheter
that has a fine tip that is able to burn tissue. We’re able to locate,
to within millimeters of precision, the location of the abnormal cells,
as well as a remote magnetic steering system that allows us to steer the
catheter inside Steve’s body with a great degree of precision.
We were able to localize these abnormal rhythm, and when we burned that
area, all the arrhythmia stopped. And it was a moment of joy. Following his journey, Steve went back
home and essentially changed his life. – I’m down to 205 pounds. I watch my salt,
exercise. I go to the gym three or four times a week. I beat the odds so far.
I want to continue doing it. It was what Dr. Lou did.
I think I got a pretty good chance. – You know, I’m happy my daughter is going
to have a grandfather in her life. Hopefully my dad can pass on to her a lot
of the traits that he’s passed on to me. – Really brought me a lot of pride to have
been able to bring him back and allow him to live the rest of his life
the way he wants to.