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Wei-Hua Lee

She's an Indianapolis medical researcher, a newspaper editor and now, a huge fan of Reid Hospital's heart program. Wei-Hua Lee, associate professor of pediatrics, anatomy and cell biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, was treated at Reid in September with a procedure for which Reid Heart Center has established a regional reputation - a catheter "ablation" to correct irregularities in her heartbeat.

She originally met Dr. Xinqiang Han through connections with the Indiana Chinese Medical Association. When she was told she needed a pacemaker, she wanted a second opinion and her doctor, also aware of Dr. Han's expertise, referred her to Reid Heart Center.

"Dr. Han has a good reputation, not just among the Chinese population," Dr. Lee said. As a physician, she had her own concerns about a pacemaker and knew that catheter ablation was another option that could resolve her problem. "I think I'm one of the lucky ones - to have my good heart back," she said, after a successful procedure that corrected the electrical misfirings at the root of her problem.

She and her husband, Dan Russell, were so impressed with Dr. Han, the heart team and generally with Reid that she is featuring Dr. Han and Reid in the state's only Chinese language newspaper, the Duowei Times. "You have a wonderful facility," Russell said. He noted how helpful team members were from the moment they arrived and had to have help finding where they needed to be at 6 am. He also became a quick fan of other Reid offerings, such as mango smoothies in the Café at Twelve Hundred.

"I wish you were a little closer to Indianapolis," Dr. Lee said. Dr. Han said Dr. Lee's prognosis is excellent and noted she was able to swim 1200 meters three days after her treatment. Ablation technology, introduced in the 1980s, matured in the 1990s and is now a preferred treatment choice for most irregular heartbeat conditions. Dr. Han described the procedure as similar to a heart catheterization that involves mapping areas of the heart with erratic signals and then treating them to shut off the signals. The result is a regular heart rhythm. In Dr. Lee's case, it ended her almost constant heartbeat irregularities and even fainting spells. "Every other heartbeat she had was irregular," Dr. Han said. "It is a specialty within a specialty," said Dr. Han, who is one of only around 300 such specialists in the nation and less than a dozen in Indiana who also perform atrial fibrillation ablation. He said from 2.2 - 2.5 million Americans suffer with irregular heartbeats from atrial fibrillation and might benefit from catheter ablation. He performs the procedure from 70 to 90 times a year at Reid, but believes the need is greater. "And like any problem, if you take care of it earlier, it is much easier," Dr. Han said.   For more information about Reid Heart Center or cardiac ablation, call: (765) 983-3255.    



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