Right now there are nearly three million Americans who have Atrial Fibrillation or AFib. It's a condition where the heart beats rapidly in an irregular way causing patients to feel as if they have just run a marathon all while standing still. A group of physicians and the Atrial Fibrillation Institute at St. Vincent's Medical Center are providing hope to patients with AFib.
St. Vincent’s Atrial Fibrillation Institute offers a wide range of options that all share a common goal—to find a cure for AFib. We offer surgical and non-surgical procedures. Our unique program guides the treatment of all patients where they are looked at on an individual basis. Every procedure is explained in detail so together, we can decide the best treatment.
AFib patients have an increased risk for strokes--- but there is new hope thanks to something called the Lariat procedure. AFib patients have irregular heartbeats and that can result in blood pooling in the left atrial appendage of your heart. The pooling can cause blood clots and clots can lead to stroke. To prevent that, many patients take blood thinners but now there is a solution for select patients. The Lariat is a lasso-like device that is inserted via a catheter making the procedure minimally invasive. When it arrives at the left atrial appendage, doctors are able to literally lasso the appendage to tie it off. The result is no more pooling of the blood, decreased stroke risk and the elimination of blood thinners.
Catheter ablation is one of the options we offer to our patients with Atrial Fibrillation. During the procedure, small catheters are placed into the patient's veins and arteries in the legs, arm or neck and then passed to the heart. High-frequency electrical impulses are used to stimulate the arrhythmia and then destroy the abnormal tissue causing it.
Surgical ablation, or the simplified Maze procedure, is a much less invasive option from the original Maze procedure. This fairly new surgery is performed through a small incision. The patient's heart continues to beat so there is no need for a heart-lung machine. And in order to make new paths for the electrical current in the heart, heat is delivered by a high intensity focused ultrasound in a device approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
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