Thrive by IU Health

April 04, 2024

Getting back on beat

IU Health Bloomington Hospital

Getting back on beat

Chest congestion, getting winded on walks and poor sleep—Darcy (Dorothy) Gustavsson thought it was a cold that would eventually go away. And the slight swelling in her ankles was nothing a bit of rest couldn’t fix.

In December 2022, her symptoms got worse. She assumed she’d developed pneumonia, so she went to her primary care provider in Nashville.

“He did an EKG in the office and sent me straight to the IU Health Bloomington Emergency department by ambulance,” she says. The diagnosis was severe heart failure caused by irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation (AFib).

At the Emergency department, she met cardiologist Andrew Ferguson, MD, who explained she had an electrical issue, not a plumbing one.

With a heart catheter placed by vascular surgeon David Peterson, MD, Gustavsson was ready to leave the hospital and continue her care with John Strobel, MD, a cardiologist and clinical cardiac electrophysiologist.

In other words, Strobel (pictured above and to the far right with Gustavsson and her husband) became her heart electrician.

“I saw the team on a near-weekly basis,” she says, explaining how they used medications for a short-term solution leading up to an ablation at the end of March 2023. And while she’s still on a few medications, she feels almost 100% better than she did when this journey began.

“The people on the cardiac team are great, and it was very comforting to know I had access to them, even if it was just to ask questions,” she explains. “I’ve had some intermittent relapses, but I have a drug protocol when that happens.”

Gustavsson is just happy to enjoy everyday life, including hiking in Brown County, traveling with her husband and visiting their daughter. The retired professor even celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary with a cruise with all their children.

For her, the moral of the story is to pay more attention to your body and talk with your doctor when something is off. Yes, it could be a cold, or you could be overlooking signs of more severe health concerns.

Related Services

Featured Providers

John S. Strobel, MD

Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology

View More Providers