Dolores Catania’s boyfriend Paul “Paulie” Connell has undergone a successful heart procedure that potentially saved his life. The Real Housewives of New Jersey star was on hand to nurse her man back to health after Paulie received a catheter ablation procedure last week.
Dolores exclusively shared details of Paulie’s diagnosis and recovery with Page Six. “Over the past eight years Paul has suffered with an irregular heartbeat assumed to be atrial fibrillation,” she explained. “Recently, it was confirmed with a diagnosis of SVT or supra ventricular tachycardia. He’s had many trips to the emergency room and consulted with several different cardiologists.”
It was a lengthy process to find the right doctor to deal with the situation. The first task was a proper diagnosis. Dolores explained, “He finally found the right specialist, a cardiac electrophysiologist, Dr. Robert Altman, who identified that he had a syndrome called WPW. Now, what’s this you might ask? It’s Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.”
Dolores continued to explain the symptoms that Paulie was experiencing. “It is a very dangerous syndrome that causes an extra electrical pathway in the heart,” Dolores explained. “It causes a rapid heartbeat, and can be life-threatening if left undiagnosed and untreated.”
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is classified as a rare congenital defect and is found in both children and adults. The worst outcomes include sudden cardiac deaths in those affected.
Those with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome have difficulty regulating heart signals due to an extra electrical pathway between the upper and lower heart chambers. As a result, the AV node is bypassed in the process, leading to an uncoordinated heart rhythm. The article explained that it’s as if the heart signals begin to travel backwards, causing the irregularity.
“So, if you experience palpitations or you feel like there’s something ‘off’ with your heart, please listen to your body and have yourself evaluated!” Dolores told readers.
In the same manner that Dolores pushed her mother to deal with her health problems on RHONJ Season 12, she did the same for her love. Dolores said, “After many years of my Paulie living with this, I’ve finally convinced him to take this to the next level. After working with Dr. Altman and having his procedure, his spirits are high and you can see there is a sign of relief.”
The recovery time for the catheter ablation procedure is surprisingly short. Paulie was posting video footage within an hour of Dr. Altman working on him.
Paulie shared a message with his fans, with Dolores sitting by his side. “Please get your heart checked out. It only takes a couple of visits and a quick little procedure like today could give you a longer life to spend with this beautiful woman and your family,” he said.
In the days after surgery, Paulie had the “best nurse” to help him recuperate. No surprise that he credited Dolores for her diligence and care. We’ve seen her taking the role of care giver for her loved ones on RHONJ.
“I’m definitely feeling a lot better this week than I was last week,” Paulie told Page Six of his recovery. “The last eight years of my life have been poorer quality than what they should have been because I stopped doing stuff in fear that it would impact my heart. There was a lot of anxiety. But Dolores pushed me to get this checked out. She took control and I was basically a passenger. Because of her, I’m really optimistic about the future.”
Dolores also had a major impact on Paulie’s sons from a previous relationship. She provided emotional support for both Cameron, 20, and Brooklyn, 17 during the process.
“They were very scared when I told them about this. Dolores and I sat them down and I let Dolores do the talking because I wanted her to soften the message,” Paulie shared. “You could see the emotion in their faces, but I think the way she told them, they leveled out and became confident that Dad was going somewhere good and that Dolores was going to be beside me and that it was all going to be OK.”
And it was Dolores’ friend, eletrophysiologist Dr. Michael Fradley, who referred Paulie to the doctor who operated on him.
Paulie couldn’t stop raving about his lady love as being instrumental in his new lease on life. “Honestly, I would have still been in the shadow of what this does to me if I hadn’t had listened to Dolores and she hadn’t have forced this,” he said. “Men seem to think they’re invincible and when I lay on that hospital bed, I was not invincible. I needed her.”
Dolores urged fans to take control of their health. “If you, or someone you love, is having this or any of the symptoms, please reach out to a medical professional or cardiologist and make sure that they examine you and perform an EKG and evaluate any medications you may be taking,” she told Page Six. “During this process we also found that the medicine he had been taking was not the correct medicine for what he actually had, which caused him to gain weight and retain water, which can also be very dangerous to your heart along with some other mild symptoms.”
So what’s next for the Eco Electrical Services CEO? A follow-up appointment with Dr. Altman will determine Paulie’s next steps. The father-of-two hopes to wean himself off the medicine that he was unnecessarily prescribed.
“When I go to see Dr. Altman in four weeks, I’m hopeful that he’s going to tell me that my life is going to go back to normal. And then the upkeep after that is getting an EKG every couple of months,” Paulie shared.
Dolores enthusiastically championed Paulie’s “good progress” since the surgery. “Still small steps, but his medical team is convinced that they have corrected the issue and it should leave the balance of his life stress-free!” she revealed. “This was something that could’ve been addressed a long time ago, and I am glad he finally listened to me.”
Finally, Dolores thanked the medical team who cared for her beau. “I need Paulie, my love, around,” she said. “Thank you to all who heped at Hackensack Hospital, you were all amazing.”
TELL US- DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF SUPPORT FOR DOLORES, PAULIE, AND PAULIE’S FAMILY AT THIS TIME?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]