The partnership between doctors played a key role in a woman's journey toward a healthy heart | Ascension

The partnership between doctors played a key role in a woman's journey toward a healthy heart

After Shelly Christrol, 43, stepped away from her teaching career to work for her husband, things seemed to be moving in the right direction.

“My lifestyle over the past five years has been pretty stress-free,” said Shelly. “But ironically, that is when I noticed some heart issues.”

Shelly was in for a routine physical when the doctor asked her how much coffee she had that morning. “I told my physician I only had half a cup of coffee,” said Shelly. “Then she asked me if I was having chest pain, and I said no.” 

From what the doctor could hear, it seemed like Shelly's heart was beating double what it should have been. Her doctor referred her to Dr. Kelly Davis, interventional cardiologist at Ascension Saint Thomas Heart Rutherford. “We went through the whole cardiac routine,” said Shelly. “I had a stress test, an ultrasound, and an EKG, and they didn’t find anything that stood out to them.” 

Dr. Davis also put Shelly on a heart monitor so they could watch her heartbeat over a period of time. “Dr. Davis was concerned about my heart palpitations, and how it would affect my heart in the long run if it kept this up,” said Shelly. “They just couldn’t exactly pinpoint the cause from all the essential testing.” 

Shelly was then referred to Dr. Peter Robertson, cardiac electrophysiologist at Ascension Saint Thomas Heart Rutherford. In December 2021, Shelly had a cardiac ablation. Cardiac ablation is a procedure that scars tissue in your heart to block irregular electrical signals and is used to treat heart rhythm problems. 

Six months later, Shelly did another test with a heart monitor. “My doctors said there was definite improvement, but the heart palpitations were still there,” said Shelly. “I felt better, but not completely.”

By the fall of 2021, Shelly’s symptoms began to resurface and were affecting her everyday life when it came to simple tasks. She decided to reach out to Dr. Robertson, who then referred her to Dr. Ricardo Lugo, cardiac electrophysiologist at Ascension Saint Thomas Heart West

Dr. Lugo convinced Shelly to have another ablation. “I was hesitant when he offered this again,” said Shelly. “But he seemed so confident that this would be an easier process than before, and they had updated equipment to perform this type of surgery. The first words out of my mouth after surgery were, ‘My heart is calm!’ I just felt a sense of relief.” 

Since her surgery, Shelly hasn’t had any heart palpitations and is thankful to the team of doctors at Ascension Saint Thomas Heart for completely fixing her heart issue. The partnership between Shelly’s doctors played a key role in the consistency and level of care she received — and their dedication led her back to a healthy heart.

It’s never too early to ask your doctor about your heart health. Schedule an appointment with a cardiologist by visiting We’re here to listen.