Valley Heart & Vascular Institute - AFib Free? It’s Possible!

AFib Free? It’s Possible!

The American Heart Association estimates that at least 2.7 million people in the United States have atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib is a disorder of the heart’s intricate electrical system, which normally keeps the heart beating regularly as it pumps oxygenated blood received from the lungs out to the rest of the body. AFib is a quivering or irregular heartbeat, which can lead to other arrhythmias, heart failure, and a shorter lifespan. Because a heart stricken with AFib does not pump blood out of the heart’s chambers in a normal rhythm, blood can pool within the chambers and form a blood clot. If the clot breaks free from the heart and travels up to one of the arteries leading to the brain, it can block the artery and cause a stroke. Therefore, AFib increases a person’s risk for stroke.

The hybrid ablation procedure performed by a collaborative team of Heart & Vascular Institute physicians has been successfully used to treat adult patients of all ages since spring 2013, when the team began using the procedure. To date, all twenty patients who have undergone hybrid ablation at Valley have been restored to a normal heart rhythm. These patients all suffered from AFib that was especially challenging and some of these patients had already undergone other standard catheter ablation procedures in an attempt to treat the AFib, but their hearts had failed to adjust back to a normal rhythm.

Even patients with AFib and structural heart disease --which is difficult to treat with other AFib treatment methods -- may meet the medical criteria for hybrid ablation. Because approximately 88 percent of all patients with AFib also have structural heart disease, the potential impact of hybrid ablation being able to treat AFib in these patients could be enormous, even if they have suffered from AFib for many years.

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