Cardiac ablation is a very common procedure performed for many types of arrhythmia such as atrial fibrillation, SVT (supraventricular tachycardia), WPW (Wolf-Parkinson-White), etc. These conditions occur due to an abnormal trigger tissue in the heart trying to take over the normal anatomical heart tissue trigger (the sinoatrial node [SA node]) that lies in the atrium of the heart. When these conditions are present, the pumping of the heart is not in sych, and therefore does not distribute the blood and oxygen to the brain and all parts of the body efficiently. Symptoms produced can include dizziness, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and in general a lack of feeling of well being. Many of these entities may be controlled with medication. Most of the time, ablation is performed if medications for these entities do not control effectively, or produce side effects that are intolerable. Most of these conditions will be successfully resolved effectively after ablation.
It seems that reporting on Arian is stuck on "shortness of breath" as possibly being a life-threatening condition, where in truth, with any of these entities untreated, there can be an element of intermittent shortness of breath that may be bothersome but very seldom life-threatening. If Arian was suffering from an arrhythmia that was life-threatening such as ventricular tachycardia (VT)........or arrhythmia not essentially controlled by meds.....he would have been restricted from playing football until well controlled. Since it seems that he was on medications that he tended to skip on game day, it makes me think that he was on a beta-blocker for atrial fibrillation with fast response heart rate. If anyone has ever taken a beta-blocker (such as Inderal), you know that it slows down the heart rate, can make you extremely sluggish, dizzy and fatigued, and can in itself give you shortness of breath as it is a broncho constrictor (constrictor of airway). These side effects would be why he would want to stop taking it on the day of a game. When doing so, the interruption can lead to a temporary breakthrough of the arrhythmia.........which is what I believe Arian experienced in practices and in that one game..........times where stressors upon the heart are maximal.......and where effects of either the arrhythmia (without the beta blocker to fully control) or the effects of the beta blocker are most likely to be felt.
Normal synchronous progression of electrical distribution from the SA node (on the left)
Chaotic progression of electrical distribution from the SA node and AV node (abnormal tissue source) leading to atrial fibrillation and non synchronous inefficient pumping of the heart (on the right)
Catheter ablation (burn destruction) of the AV node