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Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Atrial Fibrillation – Treatments and Surgery

 Some common symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation occur while doing simple physical activity such as climbing stairs or walking. Experiencing chest pressure and lightheadedness, shortness of breath and discomfort during exertion are signs of the most common form of arrhythmia.

Atrial fibrillation is non-threatening at early stages, but individuals diagnosed with this heart condition in lack of proper treatment might suffer a stroke and develop congestive heart failure.

Atrial fibrillation is the condition that describes an irregular and rapid heart rhythm that is originated at the top chambers of the heart. In other words, the patient shows a disorganized heartbeat in contrast to normal sinus rhythms.

Some complications for AF are:

  • Stroke
  • Cardiac perforation
  • Damage to the esophagus
  • Paralysis of phrenic nerves

Traditional Afib Treatment

Afib often remains hidden and undiagnosed for a long time.

Diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation is done with the help of an electrocardiogram (ECG).
Some common treatments involve control through medication in order to prevent the reoccurrence.
If afib is diagnosed in less than 48 hours of the manifestation of symptoms, the patient may be cardioverted to normal rhythm through electrical procedure.

Pulmonary Vein Isolation Ablation Procedure is the most typical afib treatment.

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Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Successful treatment of atrial fibrillation a shaky procedure, because medical and patient experience shows worldwide that medications stop working after a while and are no longer effective. Due to frequent atrial fibrillation episodes despite therapy, when rhythm drugs fail, individuals have atrial fibrillation ablation as another treatment option to prevent further paroxysmal occurrences.

AF ablation is recommended as for patients suffering from

  • Symptomatic Atrial Fibrillation
  • Mild to moderate structural heart disease
  • Paroxysmal or persistent AF
  • Impaired left ventricular function
  • Previous cardiac surgery
  • Valvular heart disease

 It might be expected when:

  • Medical therapy does not control AF.
  • Medications such as antiarrhythmic drugs (Warfarin) are not tolerated by the patient.
  • Strokes occur

It is the procedure of threading long tubes through a vain into the heart to burn the inner surface, in order to isolate the irregular electrical signals and stop them from spreading over the heart. The treatment applies radio frequency energy to the area of the heart, which is the source of electrical reaction, and performs the opening of pulmonary veins.

The procedure is performed with light anesthesia, in a sterile laboratory with life-saving equipment (monitors, x-ray machines). Doctors and nurses will wear masks and head gear, and will be available for any aid required if the patient feels discomfort.

After this intervention most of the patients remain free of symptoms after twelve months, but some of them require additional procedures to achieve a successful outcome.

Although atrial fibrillation ablation has become a routine procedure after more than a decade, it is still a serious three-hour procedure performed under general anesthesia.

Atrial fibrillation has always been associated with mortality due to ineffective therapies and methods which pose a threat to patients. But thanks to the advances in electrophysiological research, Atrial Fibrillation Ablation has become a safe, established afib treatment offering excellent possibilities for cure.

In order to determine the atrial fibrillation surgery as appropriate, the evaluation includes

  • Medical history review
  • Echocardiogram
  • Physical examination
  • Holter test
  • ECG

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Atrial Fibrillation Ablation vs. Rhythm Drugs

For patients with low-risk atrial fibrillation, medical journals have reported that atrial fibrillation ablation performed before rhythm-control drugs was a superior strategy. Several studies were conducted during the past decade and conclude that ablation procedure showed higher success rates and better prognosis.