• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Cardiac ablation helps Alan summit new heights

January 6, 2019

cardiac ablation patient Alan Kostrzewa with his son on the summit of Mount KilimanjaroWhen treatment for a torn rotator cuff uncovered two underlying heart conditions, friends urged Alan Kostrzewa to go to Mayo Clinic for help getting back to his highly active way of life.

Alan Kostrzewa never thought the term "endurance athlete" applied to him until doctors began telling him otherwise. "After talking with them, I guess that's what I'm called," he says.

The label fits. At 60 years old, Alan has been participating in triathlons and other physically demanding competitions for about half his life.

"I've been doing triathlons for 30 years or so," he says. "I do Olympic-style triathlons, and I've also done three half-Iron Man triathlons. In July 2016, I did my first full Iron Man competition. I also do a lot of recreational swimming, hiking and biking."

Given this athletic prowess, it's hard to believe a single drop of water could derail Alan. But in summer 2017, that's what happened. "It was Father's Day," he says. "I was carrying a cooler of ice, and I slipped on a drop of water on our kitchen floor and fell on my right shoulder."

The shoulder already had a minor rotator cuff tear. But because the discomfort wasn't enough to restrict his daily activities, Alan had opted against corrective surgery. "When I fell, I tore it worse, and it did then begin to complicate my life," he says. "Sleeping, especially, became extremely difficult." Read the rest of the story.
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.