MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Bo Stroia has always been active. She used to play softball and enjoys watching her grandchildren play sports. However, her active lifestyle was put on hold when she started to have trouble breathing even during short walks.

Bo Stroia and her grandchildren
Bo Stroia with her grandchildren at a wedding

“My heart would just race when I would exert myself and it got progressively worse,” Stroia said. “I would go downstairs to do laundry, and I would climb one flight to get back upstairs and be tired. I was always very active, this was not me at all. It floored me and made me nervous.” 

Her local cardiologist in New Castle, Pa., told her she had atrial fibrillation (AFib). Eventually, her condition progressed to the point that she couldn’t walk across her yard without needing to take time to recover and catch her breath. She decided to contact a cardiologist in Pittsburgh to try to find a solution. 

After examining Stroia, the doctor knew her case was something different and referred her to Vinay Badhwar, M.D., executive chair of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute

Dr. Badhwar performed repairs on the mitral and tricuspid valves and a Maze procedure to correct Stroia’s atrial fibrillation and allow the blood to properly flow through her heart. He also placed a pacemaker to regulate abnormal heart rhythms.

Since the surgery, Stroia has seen a significant improvement to her quality of life. She is able to travel to watch her grandchildren carry on her passion for sports. She’s looking forward to watching her older granddaughters play softball and her younger granddaughters play soccer. Her oldest granddaughter was recently awarded a scholarship to play college softball in Alabama.

“I’m just so proud of them, and I’m so grateful to Dr. Badhwar,” Stroia said. “It is because of him that I get to see them play sports, which is like the perfect storm for me. I’m blessed with healthy sons and healthy grandchildren. To be able to live long enough to see them play sports is just a blessing that I can’t even explain.”