About Hybrid Atrial Fibrillation Ablation
Atrial fibrillation, or A-Fib, is a fairly common heart rhythm disorder in which the heart beats at an irregular and often rapid pace. Electrical impulses cause the heart’s upper chambers, or atria, to quiver, rather than contract. The upper chambers of the heart are therefore out of synch with the lower chambers. This disruption in the precise electrical workings of the heart can result in poor blood flow and, if gone uncorrected, may lead to a stroke or heart failure. The specialists at The Heart Institute are skilled at diagnosing A-Fib and treating this potentially life-threatening condition with the latest procedures, techniques and technologies.
The very first Hybrid A-Fib Ablation in NYC was performed at The Heart Institute (THI) September 2014, by skilled team headed by electrophysiologist Marcin Kowalski, MD, a specialist in heart rhythm disorders, and cardiothoracic surgeon, Alexander Wohler, MD. This advanced minimally invasive surgical procedure to correct chronic or intractable A-Fib is a major step forward in helping patients to overcome this often hard-to-control cardiac disorder.
Hybrid A-Fib Ablation combines minimally invasive surgery and a catheter-based approach to block or “ablate” the irregular rhythm by the use of epicardial and endocardial catheters by freezing and cauterizing the heart muscle on the areas from which A-Fib typically arises; these catheters are placed outside and inside surfaces of the heart, respectively. With just three tiny incisions in the abdomen, it is much less invasive standard open-heart surgery. Hybrid A-Fib Ablation restores the heart’s natural electrical impulses. The heart continues to beat during the procedure; a heart-lung bypass machine is not needed. Patients can usually go home within 48 hours of the procedure. The reduced recovery time allows most patients to get back to their normal routine within a few days.
Freedom from chronic A-Fib
The Heart Institute is dedicated to helping patients understand A-Fib, and to providing state-of-the-art treatment options. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 2.7 million people suffer from A-Fib in the United States. By integrating Hybrid A-Fib Ablation surgery into its array of cardiac surgical services, THI stands at the forefront in the treatment of the disorder.
The cardiothoracic surgery team at THI will explain all the options available to you, and recommend the most effective procedure based upon the extent of your illness and other contributing factors. Discuss your options with your THI specialist.
Hybrid A-Fib Ablation Explained
This new, minimally invasive procedure is being offered at THI for patients with persistent or hard-to-treat A-Fib. The procedure is performed by a team of surgeons, electrophysiologists and support personnel in THI’s Surgical Hybrid Suite.
Once the patient is under anesthesia, the cardiac surgery team begins to ablate the region of the heart responsible for A-Fib. The surgeon makes tiny incisions in the abdomen, and then uses a videoscope that is passed through the incisions to gain access to the affected area of the heart. It is then treated with radiofrequency energy that essentially shuts down the abnormal impulses in that section of the heart. Subsequently, the electrophysiologist uses a balloon-tipped catheter, inserted via the blood vessels of the groin, to ablate additional areas from inside the heart.
When the procedure is complete, the patient is brought to THI’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, where patients are closely monitored. Most patients can leave within 48 hours, and return to normal life in a matter of a week or two. Patients typically remain on anticoagulant medication for at-least several weeks following the procedure.
A Major Step Forward in A-Fib Treatment
Hybrid A-Fib Ablation surgery at THI is a significant advancement in the treatment of atrial fibrillation. It is particularly effective because it addresses a specific problem in a precise area of the heart that is responsible for electrical activity. Every aspect of the minimally invasive procedure — from the instruments and videoscopes to the balloon-tipped catheter — is combined to be efficacious in eradicating A-Fib, while restoring the patient to vitality.
Are You a Candidate for Hybrid A-Fib Ablation?
Contact THI and make an appointment to speak with a member of our cardiothoracic team to discuss your options, and to determine if minimally invasive Hybrid A-Fib Ablation surgery is right for you or for a loved one. You may be a good candidate if:
- Medications have not been effective
- You have chronic or hard-to-treat A-Fib
- You have tried prior catheter ablations without success
- You have had problems with taking anticoagulation (blood thinner) medications
- Your lifestyle makes taking anticoagulation risky
The Heart Institute at Staten Island University Hospital is proud to be among the very few cardiac care centers in the Northeast offering Hybrid A-Fib Ablation surgery. THI has been at the forefront of numerous pioneering procedures to diagnose and treat a range of heart conditions, and to offer cutting-edge remedial procedures that restore heart health and give patients a new lease on life.