Traveling from England to Tampa General Hospital for a medical procedure may seem extreme. But for 81-year Patricia Bartlett, it was the only option, after finding out she had atrial fibrillation earlier this year.

  • Bartlett one of 800 involved in worldwide clinical trial
  • Study involves advanced version of ablation
  • Cardiologist reports Bartlett's heart currently shows normal rhythm

In England, Bartlett said her doctor only offered blood thinners.

“I was in a wheelchair,” Bartlett said. “I couldn’t do things around the house.”

But her and her husband have a home in Tampa, where they spend part of the year.  Bartlett’s family decided to set her up with an appointment at Tampa General Hospital, where it was determined she was a good candidate for a new clinical trial.  

The study involves an advanced version of ablation, one that also targets scar tissue. Bartlett underwent the procedure three months ago, and flew back over this week for a follow-up appointment.  

Her cardiologist, Dr. Bengt Herweg, showed us the results of one of Bartlett’s follow-up tests.

“It shows her heart to be in a completely normal rhythm," said Dr. Herweg. "This is an entirely normal electrocardiogram."

The clean bill of health, Herweg said, is a sign the trial is moving in the right direction.

“This is extremely important for mankind and for the treatment of atrial fibrillation,” Dr. Herweg said.

Bartlett is the first of 800 people to be involved in the worldwide trial.  

“It’s great.  No more shortness of breath,” Bartlett said.  “I feel like a different person.”

Bartlett will travel back to the United States for her next follow-up appointment in three months.