PATIENT STORIES

Billy Bob of Charleston, West Virginia, knew he had high cholesterol. The 69-year-old financial planner had been taking cholesterol-lowering medication for 25 years.

 

In addition, a stress test years ago indicated he might have heart issues like others in his family. But when he learned at his annual checkup in 2016 that he had atrial fibrillation (AFib), he was stunned.

“Some people can feel their heart fluttering during AFib, but I can’t,” says Billy. “During my appointment, I saw the nurses whispering. Then one asked me if I felt OK. My heart rate was 166 beats per minute.”

“I know doctors are under pressure to see many patients, but Claire told me she had as much time as I needed. We talked until I couldn’t think of any more questions.”

Looking back, he remembers getting breathless sometimes when walking the dog or working in the yard.

“I thought I was just getting old,” he says, laughing. “I didn’t suspect AFib.”

Billy’s hometown cardiologist recommended a medication to help regulate heartbeats. But everyone, including the cardiologist, agreed that a visit to Cleveland Clinic should come first.

“I live about a four-hour drive from Claire's Clinic and knew of others from Charleston going there for specialty care,” says Bill. “I did my own research and saw on the internet that she was the best at identifying the root cause of my illness.