Atrial Fibrillation Treatment
Atrial fibrillation ("a-fib") is a form of arrhythmia (heart rhythm abnormality) in which the atria (the two small upper chambers of the heart) beat chaotically. Atrial fibrillation is caused by irregularities in the transmission of electrical impulses through the heart. As a result, the heart is not able to pump blood effectively, which can cause blood to pool and form clots. People with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of stroke, congestive heart failure, and cardiomyopathy. At NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, we offer ablation techniques and surgery to treat atrial fibrillation and restore a normal rhythm to the heart.
Some people with atrial fibrillation benefit from an approach called ablation, which we use to identify and treat the defective tissue in the heart that causes abnormal heart beats. During catheter ablation, electrode catheters are inserted through your veins and guided to various positions inside your heart. The doctor applies radiofrequency energy or freezing temperatures (cryoablation) through the catheters to the abnormal electrical pathway in your heart tissue. This interrupts the path of the abnormal electrical impulses, curing your arrhythmia. This procedure is performed in the Hospital's advanced electrophysiology laboratory.
CryoMAZE Surgery for Atrial Fibrillation
If ablation is not an option for you or if it was not effective for curing your arrhythmia, you may be a candidate for surgery. Patients with arrhythmias who are having surgery for another heart condition, such as valve disease or coronary artery disease, may also be eligible for atrial fibrillation surgery. NYP Brooklyn Methodist surgeons use the CryoMAZE surgical procedure to interrupt the path of abnormal electrical impulses causing the arrhythmia. During this technique, they treat the area around the pulmonary veins—the site where irregularities in the electrical impulses most likely form—with freezing temperatures. This treatment creates scars in the walls of the atria that are incapable of conducting electrical impulses, thereby curing the arrhythmia.
Surgery plus Ablation: Hybrid Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation
Our cardiac surgeons and cardiologists offer a new hybrid ablation technique that can help people with the most persistent atrial fibrillation to recover a regular heart rhythm. Hybrid ablation techniques combine the most beneficial aspects of cardiac surgery and electrophysiology into a single, minimally invasive procedure. The collaboration of these two disciplines allows our specialists to address electrical malfunctions on both the outside and inside of the heart. Patients who have this minimally invasive complex approach are usually able to leave the Hospital within 72 hours.