Pacemaker Restores Bob Holian’s Active Lifestyle

When TriHealth Heart Institute cardiologist Gaurang Gandhi MD, told Robert Holian he needed a pacemaker, his immediate reaction was, “No, that’s for older people. I’m not old.”

Just 60 at the time, Robert felt that his usual activities were “wearing him out” and just had a feeling something was wrong.  He went to see his primary care physician who suspected heart issues and referred him to the TriHealth Heart Institute for diagnosis and treatment. Initially, he saw cardiologist Stephen Lewis MD, who did some testing and told him that his ejection fraction was too low. Ejection fraction is a measure of how effectively your heart is pumping. He suggested medication and monitored Robert for a few months.

When the medication proved ineffective, Dr. Lewis suggested that Robert see Gaurang Gandhi, MD, a cardiologist who specializes in arrhythmia – irregular heart rhythms. Dr. Gandhi recommended a pacemaker/ICD device. Implanted under the skin of the chest and connected with wires to the heart, this device would help keep Robert’s heart at a stable rhythm, but also provide a shock to his heart if it went into a life-threatening arrhythmia.

Challenges, But Success in the End

While Robert raves about the outcome, he does admit there were bumps along the way. For example, the wire from the device into his heart came loose, and he had to have a second procedure to replace it. “I had complete trust in whatever Dr. Gandhi said,” he noted. “I did everything he told me to do.”  Within nine months, Robert was fully healed, able to do whatever he wanted to do.

“I asked Dr. Gandhi, ‘Can I cut the grass with a push mower? Can I shovel dirt?’” Dr. Gandhi told me, ‘Do anything you want to do. This device is put in you to enhance your life, not inhibit it.’”

“Now I can do whatever I want to do, and not feel tired at all. I’m active – I’ve always been active. I work for a shipping company three days a week.  I enjoy my kids and grandkids – I have three children, and 10 grandchildren, all within 15 minutes of my house. I’m able to run, play ball, do whatever they want to do. Just enjoy life.

“As your heart slows down, you don’t really realize it. You don’t realize how tired you really are, until you get back to feeling like you are 35 or 40 years old. It was a wild ride at first, but would I do it again, absolutely. It was the best decision I ever made. I thank God every day for Dr. Gandhi, and for the decisions we made. It totally changed my life.”

Tags Heart