Einstein Cardiologist Gets to the Heart of Radio Host’s Atrial Fibrillation
Steve Trevelise hosts a WIP radio sports talk show during the lonely hours from 2 to 5 a.m. Fridays when the audience is made up of insomniac sports addicts with serious addytude. “No wonder I have heart problems,” he joked.
But Trevelise now feels “great” after undergoing a procedure at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia to treat his irregular heartbeat. The radio host, who also anchors a talk show on New Jersey 101.5 FM every weekday evening, had an ablation performed by Sumeet Mainigi, MD, to treat his atrial fibrillation.
“Dr. Mainigi is basically the rock star of Afib,” said Trevelise, 61, who’s been a fixture in local radio for years and is also a stand-up comic. Dr. Mainigi is Einstein’s Director of Electrophysiology, a cardiology specialty focused on treating heart rhythm disorders.
Afib, a condition in which the heart beats erratically and is unable to pump blood normally, elevates the risk of heart attack or stroke. Trevelise had no symptoms and was shocked when he discovered in 2012 that he had a heart problem. “It seemed so strange because I felt great, I work out every day and I’m in great shape,” he said.
Trevelise was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in 2012. He’d been on heart medication for a year when he initially consulted Dr. Mainigi and had his first ablation. During an ablation, a catheter is threaded into the heart and the sites of the errant electrical impulses that cause irregular heartbeats are cauterized.
Trevelise’s Afib stayed under control until this spring when he learned it had returned. “Recurrences can occur because many of the medical conditions such as sleep apnea, hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease and genetic factors that led to atrial fibrillation occurring in the first place don’t go away after the ablation and can sometimes lead to new areas of electrical hyperactivity developing in the heart,” Dr. Mainigi said. Cure rates for a single ablation can range from 60 to 85 per cent, depending on how long the Afib has existed and whether it has caused heart damage, he said.
In Trevelise’s case, the difference between the two procedures was dramatic. In 2013, the procedure took six hours and he was hospitalized for several days. In 2018, it took one hour – thanks to the improvement in technology and refinement in technique that occurred over that period of time. “He underwent the procedure in mid-June and was discharged the next day with nothing more to show for the procedure than a couple of Band-Aids in the legs,” Dr. Mainigi said.
Trevelise was one of the first patients treated in Einstein’s new electrophysiology lab, which opened in May and incorporates all the new technology in one location. “Our new electrophysiology lab is the most advanced in the nation today,” Dr. Mainigi said. “This lab offers the latest in X-ray imaging, intracardiac ultrasound, high definition three-dimensional mapping, and advanced audio and video distribution to allow us to collaborate with and educate physicians all over the country in the some of the advanced techniques that we uniquely perform.”
Trevelise, who has twin 11-year-old sons and lives in Roosevelt, N.J., with his wife and family, said the second ablation was “easier.”
While recovering afterwards, he said; “I watched a “Bluebloods” (TV) marathon, I got to eat what I wanted and hang in the hospital. The people at Einstein are fantastic.”