He Was in Afib. He Didn’t Know It. Would You?

A routine physical found a triathlete’s heart rhythm was off. Our technology treated it. Here’s how we can help yours.

Healthy Heart|Sep.15, 2022

Let’s be honest: If this story were only about how we help people suffering from Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) — the most common kind of irregular heartbeat — Jay King might have only read it out of the pride he felt from his decade-plus working in Vascular at Abbott.

But while this story is about all that, it is also about him.

It’s the story of a triathlete and engineer who knows his body, who competed into his late 50s and still likes to go hard and who, during one routine physical just a few years ago, was more than a little surprised to learn he was in AFib.

And as you’re reading this story about Jay King, 62, don’t be so sure it’s not also about you.

Because Jay King never imagined it’d be about him. And yet here he is, front and center, the reluctant star of a story he wanted no part of, that has had more chapters than he anticipated. If it can be about him, it can be about you, too.

We can help. Just like our technology helped him.

But before we get to that, who is this Jay King fella anyway?

He’s Outside. Let’s Look In.

Jay King grew up in San Diego and followed his true love, Lisa to UCLA after high school. They’ve been married four decades and have a 27-year-old daughter.

“Then the rest is history, I suppose,” King said.

Not quite.

“I like to be outside,” King said. “Living in San Diego, anything outside, whether it’s hiking, biking, water sports, camping, those sorts of things are what float my boat.” And his kayak.

After starting his career in aerospace and defense, he’s worked for Abbott for 16 years, the majority in Vascular production. A few years ago, he moved to the company’s new Rapid Diagnostics division as a “special projects kind of guy,” who knows his way around large capital projects and technology transfers.

In 2020, “I was put on special assignment to the ID NOW and  Alinity COVID testing teams that were ramping up in support of Abbott’s commitment to COVID testing capability,” King said.

It’s sometimes stressful work, the kind that can be a catalyst for AFib, the onset of which can be a bit of a mystery for many. 

But, as King said, “Part of the cause can be related to your job. In my case, my job is also part of the solution.”

The Truth of His Heart: AFib

Just a few short years ago, King was in for what he and his doctor considered a routine physical.

It began normally. Heck, the EKG seemed a perfunctory final step just to wrap it up and get him back out there doing what he loved. But his doctor had unexpected news.

“They came back in said, ‘Hey, we got a problem. You’re in AFib right now.’ We were both surprised because I was asymptomatic primarily,” King said.

Primarily. But not exclusively. He knew his body.

“I had noted that some of my physical athletic performance had dropped. I attributed that to being older and carrying a few pounds,” King said. “But there may have been a component that was related to my heart as well. The heart just isn’t working as efficiently when it’s in AFib. So that’s how it was detected.”

He had a normal course of options to treat his irregular heartbeat.

He could try medication, but he wasn’t taken by that idea.

He did try cardioversion — a shock to get his heart back into rhythm — that didn’t take.

The next step: Ablation. King’s doctors had a taker, so long as the equipment used was made by Abbott.

It was. King was all in.

Ablation is a process where tissue is scarred or removed to interrupt electrical signals that are causing a heart to beat irregularly.

Before any part of the heart is touched, doctors map it to best understand where to do their work to get everything back in order. Our EnSite creates highly detailed three-dimensional maps of the heart. It was designed with guidance from doctors around the world and is also approved for use in Canada, Latin America, Asia, Europe and Australia. Powerful. Reliable. Efficient.

The Truth of His Heart: It Can Be a Bumpy Trail

King’s first ablation worked. He felt better but knew he could feel better still. A follow-up ablation got him back to feeling fully like his old — younger — self. For a time.

Last year, during a mountain bike workout, he suffered ventricular tachycardia. His heart stopped. He’s here today to tell the story thanks to a nurse who happened to be hiking nearby.

“She gave me CPR until the EMTs arrived,” King said.

This time, doctors knew his heart needed a Gallant implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a device with smartphone connectivity that, “now allows me to go off and do things again.” Things such as biking, rowing and kayaking he’s enjoyed his whole life. King had some post-event issues which resulted in a third ablation a couple of months ago.

He’s feeling much better now.

Now, Let’s Talk About You

So this is about Jay King. And Atrial Fibrillation, still the most common kind of irregular heartbeat, even this long into this story.

And it also could be about you.

How can we say that? And more, importantly, how can you know?

A good place to start is afanswers.com, where you’ll see that AFib affects 33 million around the globe and, with 5 million new cases diagnosed each year, it’s predicted to double by 2050. The site is designed to help you understand if you have an irregular heartbeat, what happens if you’re diagnosed with one and what information to bring with you so that your doctor can best map out a treatment plan with you. Never underestimate the power of knowing.

So let’s keep being honest: If this story were only about Jay King, you might have read it only if you were Jay King and his family and friends. But it’s also about those 33 million (and growing) around the world who can benefit from the latest mapping and ablation technologies to get their hearts back in rhythm. And if that is you, you and the loves of your life will be glad you read this.





The EnSite™ X EP System is a suggested diagnostic tool in patients for whom electrophysiology studies have been indicated.

The EnSite™ X EP System provides information about the electrical activity of the heart and displays catheter location during conventional electrophysiological (EP) procedures.


  • For patient safety, any connections that directly connect the patient to the EnSite™ X EP System must be routed through the appropriate modules: EnSite™ X EP System SurfaceLink Module, EnSite™ X EP System 20 pin Catheter Input Module, EnSite™ X EP System 80-pin Catheter Input Module and Direct Connect Ports on the EnSite™ X EP System Amplifier.
  • When using the EnSite™ X EP System, full protection against the effects of cardiac defibrillator discharge and other leakage currents is dependent upon the use of appropriate cables.
  • The use of this device in conjunction with radio frequency ablation, as a part of the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, may pose an increased risk of adverse events such as cardiac perforation, myocardial infarction, air embolism, and hematoma requiring surgical repair and/or blood transfusion.
  • Non-SE catheters cannot collect location data and should not be used for navigation in VoXel Mode because they do not have a magnetic sensor. However, they can be visualized and display intracardiac signals.
  • Only connect items that have been specified as part of the EnSite X EP System or compatible with the EnSite X EP System to the multiple socket-outlets.
  • The EnSite™ X EP System model display should be used in conjunction with conventional EP techniques to confirm catheter location.
  • The AutoMark feature does not indicate lesion effectiveness. AutoMarks are placed based on user-defined parameters for catheter stability and RF metrics only.
  • Sudden impedance changes of the body or catheter electrodes caused by the connection of other devices (e.g., stimulator, defibrillator, and other devices) may create a location shift.


  • Ensure that surface electrodes, Patient Reference Sensors, and associated connectors do not contact one another, electrical ground, or metallic objects.
  • Ensite™ X EP System components should be connected to power through an isolation transformer or the multiple socket outlet supplied with the system carts. Connecting equipment directly to a wall outlet may result in excessive leakage current.
  • Do not operate the EnSite™ X EP System Field Frame within 10 m of another operating Field Frame.
  • Do not place the EnSite™ X EP System Field Frame Cable inside the measurement volume or wrap it around the EnSite™ X EP System Field Frame, as it may create a magnetic interference.
  • Metallic equipment used in close proximity to the magnetic field during the procedure, such as a sterile drape holder, may cause metal distortion.
  • Do not place tool cables within 30 mm of the EnSite™ X EP System Field Frame Cable. If placed this close-particularly if the cables are parallel to each other the tool cable may become subject to electromagnetic interference.
  • Do not use the EnSite™ X EP System in the presence of other magnetic fields.
  • Do not drop the EnSite™ X EP System Field Frame or subject it to impact. Physical damage to the EnSite™ X EP System Field Frame may alter the EnSite™ X EP System Field Frame's factory calibration.


Rx Only

Brief Summary: This product is intended for use by or under the direction of a Physician. Prior to using these devices, please review the Instructions for Use for a complete listing of indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, potential adverse events and directions for use.

Intended Use: The Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) devices are intended to provide ventricular antitachycardia pacing and ventricular cardioversion/defibrillation.

Indications: The ICD devices are indicated for automated treatment of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. In addition, dual chamber ICD devices with the AT/AF detection algorithm are indicated in patients with atrial tachyarrhythmias or those patients who are at significant risk of developing atrial tachyarrhythmias.MR Conditional ICDs are conditionally safe for use in the MRI environment when used in a complete MR Conditional system and according to instructions in the MRI-Ready Systems manual. Scanning under different conditions may result in severe patient injury, death or device malfunction. The myMerlinPulse™ mobile application is indicated for use by patients with supported Abbott Medical implanted heart devices. 

Contraindications: Contraindications for use of the pulse generator system include ventricular tachyarrhythmias resulting from transient or correctable factors such as drug toxicity, electrolyte imbalance, or acute myocardial infarction. The myMerlinPulse™ mobile application is contraindicated for use with any implanted medical device other than supported Abbott Medical implanted heart devices. 

Adverse Events: Possible adverse events associated with the implantation of the pulse generator system include the following: Arrhythmia (for example, accelerated or induced), Bradycardia, Cardiac or venous perforation, Cardiac tamponade, Cardiogenic shock, Death, Discomfort, Embolism, Endocarditis, Erosion, Exacerbation of heart failure, Excessive fibrotic tissue growth, Extracardiac stimulation (phrenic nerve, diaphragm, pectoral muscle), Extrusion, Fluid accumulation within the device pocket, Formation of hematomas, cysts, or seromas, Heart block, Hemorrhage, Hemothorax, Hypersensitivity, including local tissue reaction or allergic reaction, Infection, Keloid formation, Myocardial damage, Nerve damage, Occlusion/Thrombus, Pericardial effusion, Pericarditis, Pneumothorax, Pulmonary edema, Syncope, Thrombosis, Valve damage. Complications reported with direct subclavian venipuncture include pneumothorax, hemothorax, laceration of the subclavian artery, arteriovenous fistula, neural damage, thoracic duct injury, cannulation of other vessels, massive hemorrhage and rarely, death. Among the psychological effects of device implantation are imagined pulsing, depression, dependency, fear of premature battery depletion, device malfunction, inappropriate pulsing, shocking while conscious, or losing pulse capability. Possible adverse device effects include complications due to the following: , Abnormal battery depletion, Conductor fracture, Device-programmer communication failure, Elevated or rise in defibrillation/cardioversion threshold, Inability to defibrillate or pace, Inability to interrogate or program due to programmer or device malfunction, Incomplete lead connection with pulse generator, Inhibited therapy including defibrillation and pacing, Inappropriate therapy (for example, shocks and antitachycardia pacing [ATP] where applicable, pacing), Interruption of function due to electrical or magnetic interference, Intolerance to high rate pacing (for example dyspnea or discomfort), Lead abrasion, Lead fracture, Lead insulation damage, Lead migration or lead dislodgement, Loss of device functionality due to component failure, Pulse generator migration, Rise in DFT threshold, Rise in pacing threshold and exit block, Shunting of energy from defibrillation paddles, System failure due to ionizing radiation. Additionally, potential adverse events associated with the implantation of a coronary venous lead system include the following: Allergic reaction to contrast media, Breakage or failure of implant instruments, Prolonged exposure to fluoroscopic radiation, Renal failure from contrast media used to visualize coronary veins. Refer to the User’s Manual for detailed intended use, indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions and potential adverse events. No potential adverse events have been identified with use of the myMerlinPulse™ mobile application.