As a member of the Newman University volleyball team, Chelsey Potter has always trained and played with a lot of heart — but she never realized the one beating in her chest might get in the way of her college athletic career.
While she prepared for her second season at Newman, she was experiencing strange symptoms: rapid heartbeat, chills, dizziness, cramps, and then "everything would go black."
As a cheerleader and volleyball player at Cheney High School, she'd had similar episodes — just not as severe.
She was diagnosed with two heart conditions: vasovagal syncope — rapid heartbeat caused when the body tries to compensate for blood pressure that's too low, and supraventricular tachycardia — a malfunction in the electrical system that controls heartbeat. The first can be controlled with medication. The second required the state-of-the art technology available at the Electrophysiology Laboratory at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, and the skills of Chelsey's doctor, Mohamad al-Ahdab, MD, and the EP lab staff.
At the EP lab Chelsey underwent cryoablation, which freezes and destroys the extra, abnormal electrical circuit in her heart, allowing a return to a healthy heartbeat.
"We had considered going to other doctors," Chelsey said. "But the way the doctors and staff at Via Christi explained what was happening and the way they took care of me made us trust them completely."
A few weeks later, Chelsey was able to return to the gym for spring volleyball conditioning.
"I feel rather free now that the heart procedure is behind me. It's so nice to feel that I'm on an upward spike."