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Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the heart beats irregularly and rapidly. It occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart, called the atria, do not beat at the same time as the two lower chambers, called the ventricles.
At Dignity Health, our heart doctors perform atrial fibrillation treatment to restore a normal heartbeat. The technique is called atrial fibrillation ablation, or cardiac ablation. It’s typically recommended if medication has not worked.
As nationally recognized leaders in heart and vascular care, Chandler Regional Medical Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center offer a full range of minimally invasive treatments. If you would like to learn more about atrial fibrillation ablation in Arizona, Find a Doctor today at Dignity Health.
When medications cannot successfully control an abnormal heartbeat, the next treatment option may be electrical cardioversion. During this treatment, electric shocks stimulate the heart to try and restore a normal rhythm. If this does not work, doctors at Dignity Health may recommend atrial fibrillation ablation.
The procedure will be performed by a highly trained interventional cardiologist in a Dignity Health hospital’s radiology department. Special X-ray equipment and contrast dye will allow your cardiologist to see your blood vessels and monitor the procedure. You will be awake during the procedure but sedated, so you will not feel any pain.
Your cardiologist will insert a catheter (a long, thin, flexible tube) into an artery, usually in the groin, and guide it toward the area of the heart that is causing the abnormal heartbeat. A special device at the tip of the catheter will freeze or heat certain areas, creating scar tissue that blocks the impulses that create the abnormal heartbeat.
The procedure can last about two to four hours, depending on the complexity of your condition.
Once your surgery is complete, your health care team will monitor you for a period of time, usually four to six hours. Your blood pressure will be taken regularly during this time to make sure your recovery is going smoothly. Your doctor will give you instructions on when it will be safe to return to normal activities. In general, most people are able to get back to their normal routine within a few days.
People that struggled with exercise or strenuous activity before surgery often find that they are able to enjoy these things after having atrial fibrillation ablation. The goal of surgery is to improve your quality of life, allowing you to do more of the things you love.