Patient Story

Doug’s Story: Cryoablation Cures His Afib

January 15, 2019

Doug Dillman credits his restored heart health to Arctic Front cryoablation and the personalized care he got at Ascension Wisconsin St. Francis.

Doug is the voice of Wisconsin Hot Rod Radio. It’s his passion – hot rods and classic and custom cars. Whether he is trackside announcing or on route to a drag race, Doug says it’s like family.

He comes from a family of mechanics – mom, dad, siblings, “We grew up in a garage,” says Doug, and he wouldn’t want it any other way. “It’s a wonderful culture.”

Then he started having episodes of pounding and “violent” chest pain. Then the symptoms would go way, but sure enough return. “I (and my wife) really started to worry,” especially since he drives to and from car shows, race tracks and auto events.

At that point, Doug saw a cardiologist. He had atrial fibrillation (Afib). The chaotic mis-firings in his heart were causing the pain. As importantly, his heart function was suffering.

Doug likens Afib to the engine of a car. If you cross electrical wires, it will misfire. Once you fix the electrical circuit, you are firing on all cylinders.

That is what an Afib doctor does. Charles Lanzarotti, MD, cardiac electrophysiologist (EP) at Ascension Southeast Wisconsin’s Centers of Heart Care, St. Francis Hospital recommended that Doug have Arctic Front cryoablation. The EP doctor uses the minimally invasive procedure to navigate a catheter to the area of heart that is experiencing the arrythmia (mis-firing). Using very cold energy, the affected muscle fibers are separated. The result is an improved electrical circuit in the heart.

Nearly ten years ago, Dr. Lanzarotti and St. Francis Hospital was the first in the state to perform cryoablations. This heart procedure for Afib continues to be one of the busiest outpatient procedures at Ascension Wisconsin heart care centers at St. Francis Hospital, the Elmbrook campus, and at All Saints Hospital in Racine.

Doug’s A-fib is cured. “I got my life back – now I am just cruising and relaxing.” He credits the heart care team at St. Francis for the excellent care he received. “Cryo is the way to go.” He also credits the heart team for taking care of his wife. “The spouse is going through it too!”

Learn more about our integrated Afib Centers of Heart Care throughout southeastern Wisconsin, now in more locations throughout the Milwaukee area and Racine.

Compassionate and personalized care is provided by Ascension Southeast Wisconsin Afib doctors and our dedicated heart care team. Find a Doctor >