Heart disease if the leading cause of death among Americans. With the help of the experts at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, however, one local woman made sure she did not become part of that statistic.  

“When I stand there and these tiny little birds are off to the side and they’re singing to me that gives me great joy,” said Green Bay’s Pat Storm of her peaceful back yard. 

Storm enjoys the simple things in life. 

“I love to garden, I love to plant flowers and I love being in my yard with my squirrel gym,” she chuckled. 

But a few years ago, this active 71 year old started feeling lethargic and something in her arm didn’t feel quite right. 

“Like the feeling of numbness,” she described. 

Knowing she had a family history of heart health issues, Storm wasn’t taking any chances. 

“I went in right away and it was a very good thing that I did,” she said. “Come to find out, I ended up having AFib.”  

AFib, or atrial fibrillation, is an irregular heartbeat; when the upper chambers of the heart, the atria, get out of sync with the lower chambers. 

“Instea of the upper chambers squeezing together in a synchronized fashion, there a lot of irregular activity,” explained Daneille VandeBerg, a physician assistant at Aurora BayCare Medical Center. “That causes the upper chambers to quiver or fibrillate.” 

VandeBerg illustrated what that looks like on an electrocardiogram, or EKG. She also described the electrophysiology ablation procedure doctors performed to get Storm’s heart back in sync. 

“Intentionally form a ring of scar so the AFib, the electrical erratic activity, can be put to sleep or blocked so it can’t get out and cause problems,” she described.  

Vandeberg says while ablation is one of many options Aurora BayCare has for treating  AFib, she’s a strong believer in prevention. 

“Going to routine wellness exams, eating a heart healthy diet, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat, losing weight if you need to,” VandeBerg said.  

Storm’s taken that advice to heart, losing nearly 75 pounds 

“Trying to eat more heart healthy foods,” she said. “I’m trying protein drinks.” 

As grateful as she is to her medical team at Aurora BayCare… 

“I’ve been blessed. My doctors have given me the best care here.”  

…Storm says she doesn’t plan on seeing them often. 

“You like the hospital and your doctors, but you don’t want to be a frequent flyer!,” laughed Storm.  

She’s got better things to do with her time. 

“I’m an active person,” Storm said. “At 71, I still wanna be doing stuff.” 

Knowing your risk of developing heart disease is a key factor to staying healthy.You can find out how likely you are to develop heart disease and what you can do to prevent it at: aurorabaycare.com/assessments.