It was just about one year ago when Laura Smart of Pine Bluff began her day with routine errands and ended it as a patient at Jefferson Regional.
“I hadn’t felt well for a couple of days,” Laura remembered, “and my heart started beating really fast. I just felt like something was wrong, so I stopped and called my family physician. They got me into the office right away, did an EKG, and said ‘go straight to the hospital – you’re in AFib.’”
Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common type of irregular heartbeat, according to the American Heart Association. Abnormal firing of electrical impulses causes the atria (the top chambers in the heart) to quiver, or fibrillate. Untreated, atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related deaths and is associated with a significantly increased risk for stroke. However, many patients are unaware that AFib is a serious condition.
“When I got to the hospital, I was asked to choose a cardiologist, since I didn’t have one.” Laura said. “I always prefer a female physician, if possible, so I selected Dr. Ricki Fram. I was lucky – she was on call that evening – and I knew she fit the bill within ten minutes of meeting her.”
“Dr. Fram is just so personable,” Laura continued, “and really spends time with you. She is very thorough and always wants her patients to keep in touch.” Laura spent several days at Jefferson Regional as Dr. Fram tried a number of different medications to get her heartbeat back to normal, and during that time, the two women became close. Today, Laura says, “She has become a really good friend.”
But Laura’s praise wasn’t limited to the medical staff. “The entire experience was absolutely awesome,” she said. “The nurses were great … even the people coming in the middle of the night to check vital signs were so caring.” Since that time, Laura has continued to see Dr. Fram on a regular basis and is continuing to do well. “Everyone needs to listen to what their bodies are telling them, and reach out for help. I would definitely recommend Dr. Fram and Jefferson Regional.”
Ricki Fram, M.D. sees patients at Jefferson Regional Cardiology Associates, 1601 West 40th Avenue, Suite 301, in Pine Bluff. The phone number is 870-541-4285.