Nate Bendall's heart surgery

Those two words, heart surgery, let you know it’s nothing to pass off as no big deal.

And Nate Bendall, Utah State’s starting center, knew he was going to have to have surgery at one time or another. Wanting to minimize any risk he might encounter throughout the remainder of the season chose to have the procedure done earlier, rather than later.

Bendall, a day earlier than initially expected, made a visit to a doctor for an out-patient procedure that, in the big picture of heart surgeries, was a fairly minor one.

According to Utah State Bendall underwent a “heart ablation to treat an atrial flutter.”

A cardiac ablation, according to Heart Rhythm Society, is described this way:

“Like many cardiac procedures, ablation no longer requires a full frontal chest opening. Rather, ablation is a relatively non-invasive procedure that involves inserting catheters — narrow, flexible wires — into a blood vessel, often through a site in the groin or neck, and winding the wire up into the heart. The journey from entry point to heart muscle is navigated by images created by a fluoroscope, an x-ray-like machine that provides continuous, ‘live’ images of the catheter and tissue.

Once the catheter reaches the heart, electrodes at the tip of the catheter gather data and a variety of electrical measurements are made. The data pinpoints the location of the faulty electrical site. During this ‘electrical mapping,’ the cardiac arrhythmia specialist, an electrophysiologist, may sedate the patient and instigate some of the very arrhythmias that are the crux of the problem. The events are safe, given the range of experts and resources close at hand, and are necessary to ensure the precise location of the problematic tissue.

Once the damaged site is confirmed, energy is used to destroy a small amount of tissue, ending the disturbance of electrical flow through the heart and restoring a healthy heart rhythm. This energy may take the form of radiofrequency energy, which cauterizes the tissue, or intense cold, which freezes, or cryoablates the tissue. Other energy sources are being investigated.

Patients rarely report pain, more often describing what they feel as discomfort. Some watch much of the procedure on monitors and occasionally ask questions. After the procedure, a patient remains still for four to six hours to ensure the entry point incision begins to heal properly. Once mobile again, patients may feel stiff and achy from lying still for hours. “

For more information on the procedure, follow this link.

Bendall missed Wednesday night’s game against Weber State and is expected to miss next week’s contest against Western Oregon. The 6-foot-9 junior from Skyline High is expected to return to action on January 2 when the Aggies open Western Athletic Conference play at New Mexico State.

Leave a comment encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.