Stories of Care - Patients

Victoria Malcolm
Victoria Malcolm

Regulating the Rhythm of Her Heart

It would come without warning. She could feel her heart pounding like crazy and she would feel exhausted. “The episodes started in 2018,” recalls Victoria Malcolm from Brantford. “I’ve always been an extremely active person, but then the episodes would come out of the blue and I would need to lay down because I was so tired. Sometimes it would last 12 hours or more.”

Getting Answers

Victoria’s family physician referred her to Hamilton General Hospital, where she was placed under the care of Dr. Jeff Healey. It was discovered that Victoria was suffering from atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular and rapid heart rhythm that can come and go, seemingly at random.

“The scariest part of having atrial fibrillation is its unpredictability. Nothing specific seemed to be provoking the episodes and you could never tell how long it would last.”

If untreated, atrial fibrillation can potentially lead to blood clots and stroke. Victoria was put on a blood-thinning medication and her condition was closely monitored.


“I was good for a few months, then I had several episodes in February of 2020,” explains Victoria. “That’s when I was referred to Dr. Guy Amit, an electrophysiologist at The General.”

Victoria underwent cryoablation – a minimally invasive procedure designed to disable the areas of the heart that are causing the abnormal rhythm. A thin, flexible catheter is used to locate and freeze the tissues in these specific areas.

Inflammation caused by the procedure caused some chest pain afterwards, but medication helped to reduce the inflammation and discomfort.

“The entire staff in the Electrophysiology Lab was fantastic,” says Victoria. “I was initially worried about having the procedure, but they put me at ease. They were so knowledgeable and reassuring.”

Back in action

Today, Victoria is back to her active lifestyle again.

“I’m so happy that I can do all the things I love doing, like biking, swimming, skiing and yoga. I can’t say enough good things about the care I received at Hamilton General Hospital.”

Victoria is a 2022 Strides Patient Ambassador

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