Bruce MacDonald's Patient Story
Avid cyclist Bruce MacDonald had a stroke. But that wasn't his biggest problem. The irregular heartbeat condition that caused his stroke was still not under control. Could treatment at BIDMC prevent another stroke and get Bruce back to his active lifestyle?
At 58 years old, Bruce MacDonald was in better shape than most 25 year old men. As an avid cyclist, Bruce has conquered bike races including the 755 mile-long Paris Brest Paris race… that's right, 755 miles! Being in such great shape, no one would have expected that Bruce would soon face a major health scare.
While at the gym, Bruce became light-headed, dizzy, and started to experience an irregular heartbeat. Days following, his condition worsened. Bruce started to feel like "a 90 year old man" trapped inside a fit body. Simple tasks that Bruce had performed with ease just months before became a huge burden. Even a game of catch with his son was too much for him to handle.
Bruce was soon diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF), an arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. AF, a potentially life-threatening condition, raises the risk of stroke. Initially, Bruce's physicians attempted to control his condition with medication. As time wore on, it became necessary to increase his dosage until ultimately the medication no longer was effective. Then, the unthinkable happened; Bruce suffered a stroke.
Bruce consulted with physicians at BIDMC's CardioVascular Institute to weigh his options for treatment. Under the assumption that open-heart surgery may be his only option, Bruce was pleased to hear about the Maze procedure, a minimally invasive procedure to control AF.
Performed through small incisions, the Maze procedure moves the cause of the irregular rhythm away from the heart and in turn can reduce the risk of stroke. For Bruce, the Maze procedure was the right option.
Only months after his procedure, Bruce found himself off of his medication and back on his bike. Amazingly, he entered Paris Brest Paris, and completed 755 miles that he never thought he'd ride again!