• By Cory Pedersen

Sharing Mayo Clinic: 100 miles away his medical team could see the truth about his heart

October 17, 2021

Looking back, Dan O’Bryan now can see the connection between his dizzy spells and episodes of lightheadedness during spring 2021, and the slow heart rate and atrial fibrillation diagnoses that led him to have a pacemaker implanted in his chest.

At the time, however, he didn’t realize that his symptoms were anything to worry about. “I didn’t think too much about it,” Dan says. “I was just having these off-and-on feelings of dizziness once in a while — mostly when I’d get up and walk across a room or while out in the garden. Sometimes it was also associated with heat.”

But when Dan told his primary care doctor at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, that the dizzy spells occurred even while he was sitting and watching television, the seriousness of his symptoms began to come into full view.

“He looked at me and said, ‘That’s not good,’” Dan says. “So he ordered a number of heart tests — an EKGechocardiogram. He also ordered a holter monitor that I had to wear for 48 hours.”

In addition to that, Dan’s primary care doctor referred him to Mayo Clinic Health System cardiologist Diana Trifa, M.D. “I met with her after all of my tests were done,” Dan says. “Unfortunately, my test results didn’t reveal a smoking gun cause of my dizziness.”

Dr. Trifa, however, refused to give up.

Read the rest of Dan's story on the Mayo Clinic Laboratories blog.