Scott's Afib Story


Scott has a unique story; he was born with a defective mitral valve prolapse, meaning that the left heart valve does not close all the way, causing blood to leak backwards. The defect was discovered as part of a routine physical many years ago. At that time he was informed that his condition would not affect his lifestyle or require surgery; he could go on with his daily activities – which he did. Scott’s lifestyle was very active and as a former law enforcement officer, staying in shape was a necessity. Scott was accustomed to walking hundreds of miles along the Sahuaro National Park trails but he recently began experiencing shortness of breath, thinking it was the flu. Thanks to a friend’s advice; he went to see his doctor.

Scott was diagnosed with AFIB, Atrial Fibrillation, which causes irregular heartbeats. Tests were conducted to see if this was related to his defective mitral valve prolapse but during his recovery from the tests, Scott’s heart went into an irregular heartbeat, ventricular tachycardia, which could become fatal if left untreated. His cardiologist, Dr. Joseph Chambers, transferred him to Carondelet Heart and Vascular Institute at St. Mary’s Hospital where Dr. Talal Moukabary corrected his mitral valve prolapse.

After his surgery, Scott began his Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was discharged early from his rehabilitation program, because his surgery was corrective and was already exercising. Despite ending his rehab early, he saw a great benefit in attending. The program is composed of participants who are peers and share similar experiences. “It is a great group of people that are overcoming cardiac issues and are determined to get better” says Scott. As a result of regular attendance, Scott is now aware of changes he can make - including to his diet. One of his classes taught him salt, fat and sugar are the top flavors human love. He is guilty of adding salt, so he has cut back resulting in his blood pressure being improved.

Scott was in good physical shape because he walked. He has returned to the trails of Sahuaro National Park, where you will find him several times per week. His advice is simple, “you don’t need a gym membership just a decent pair of walking shoes.”