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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. Approximately 2.7 million people in the United States are affected. If untreated, it could lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart related complications. There are multiple treatment options for atrial fibrillation, including medications, cardioversion or a procedure called an ablation. An ablation disrupts the heart tissue that has incorrect electrical signals causing AF. In cases where AF is more advanced, these options can be less successful. For more complex cases, the Convergent™ procedure has shown to be successful.
The Convergent™ procedure is a method developed to interrupt the more persistent disorganized electrical signals that lead to AF. The cardiothoracic surgery and electrophysiology teams come together to offer a more extensive ablation approach, known as the Convergent™ Procedure – a convergence of technique and technology. It provides a better chance of treating complicated AF and restoring a normal rhythm. The surgeon performs an ablation on the outside of the heart chamber and the electrophysiologist performs an ablation on the inside. In some cases, the surgeon may place a clip (atriclip) to close off the left atrial appendage. The atrial appendage is the structure of the heart where blood clots can form making patients at risk for stroke. After the left atrial appendage is closed, your risk of stroke may be less. Your electrophysiologist will discuss if this influences the need for long term blood thinners.
You may be a good candidate for this procedure if:
Patients who have had open-chest surgeries are not eligible for the hybrid ablation procedure. Contact your doctor to discuss your treatment options.
This minimally invasive procedure combines the expertise of the electrophysiologist and the cardiothoracic surgeon to provide a more comprehensive treatment for the patient. The procedure does not involve making any incisions in the heart, which can lead to shorter recovery times and a reduced risk of complications.