Doctors Induce Heart Attack to Save Arlington Man's Life

"Alcohol ablation" was first introduced about 20 years ago, but doctors have now refined it as a minimally-invasive procedure to fix a damaged heart. For one man, it was a matter of life and death.

After one year of recovery from a controlled heart attack, 67-year-old Bobby Bridges can do just about everything again – yard work, work as a police chaplain in Arlington and preach at Mayfield Road Baptist Church.

"My heart stopped. Evidently. I rolled at about five miles an hour through two intersections and then hit the curb, and the jolt of hitting the curb brought me back to life, literally," Bridges said.

Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, a genetic disorder, was causing a thickness in the heart wall that was obstructing blood flow. The cardiologist performed an alcohol ablation, causing a controlled heart attack to kill part of the heart and reduce the obstruction.

"Oh, yeah, when they induced that heart attack, heart attack hurts, I can tell you," Bridges detailed.

Immediately, with the obstruction gone, the blood flowed normally, and Bridges returned to normal life, even preaching again. His recovery was faster than if he chose a surgical route.

"In appropriate patients, that are appropriately screened, it can be life changing as it was for Bobby," said Dr. Stuart Lander, an interventional cardiologist at Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas.

"I'm completely a new person. If there is any way to describe how I am today, I'm 30 years younger," Bridges said.

He now has a whole new lease on life.

Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy is a genetic disorder that often goes undetected until the patient has a massive heart attack, so Bridges was indeed a lucky man.

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