A patient with a rare heart tumor receives emergency heart ablation | Ascension

A patient with a rare heart tumor receives emergency heart ablation

An emergency ablation procedure at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay in Panama City, Florida saves a woman's life.

A patient with a rare heart condition receives emergency heart ablation

Wendy Price found herself in emergency care at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay when her heart began to race 226 beats per minute because of a rare heart condition.

Price’s condition is called ventricular tachycardia (VT), a life-threatening heart disorder that causes clustering episodes of irregular heartbeat that can lead to cardiac arrest. A tumor inside her heart was the cause of the rhythm disorder, even though she had an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) to help regulate her heartbeat and was on medication to treat it. 

Before she got to Ascension Sacred Heart Bay, her defibrillator went off multiple times. Saeed U. Khaja, DO, a cardiac electrophysiologist, was waiting for Price at the hospital and performed an emergent ablation procedure that saved her life. 

“Dr. Khaja is very talented,” said Price. “We are very lucky he is doing procedures at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay.” 

Price said Dr. Khaja saw three areas needing ablation to get her heart beating normally. Price said the procedure was very complicated due to the ICD leads in her heart and the tumor invading her heart muscle.

“Treatment for my condition was once only offered in larger cities like Jacksonville,” said Price. “Having this available at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay saved my life.” 

Price, who is a nurse, said the nurses at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay were fantastic, very informative, and on top of her care. She was discharged from the hospital after only two days without any complications. 

“They answered all of my questions, and I had a lot of them,” said Price. 

After the procedure, she is back to doing many things she loves without being out of breath and having to stop frequently. She enjoys going to the farmer’s market on the weekends with her husband. 

Price continues to be under Dr. Khaja’s care. She said he is very attentive and knowledgeable and what he does in his profession is top-notch. At first, she had monthly follow-ups and is now going every eight weeks. She also continues to receive care for the cancerous tumor inside her heart which has significantly decreased in size. It has been over six months since the ablation procedure. Price has had no recurrence of irregular heartbeat and has not needed any additional heart medications. 

Price said she was very active before her heart tumor was discovered. She walked three times a week on her treadmill, gardened and walked her three dogs. She even went on vacation in Alaska without any issues. She said being healthy is what many of her healthcare providers said is saving her life. 

For more information on the tri-county’s only comprehensive heart program, visit ascension.org/BayHeart