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Atrial Fibrillation

Heart Arrhythmia
An arrhythmia is a heart rhythm abnormality that may indicate a serious problem and can lead to heart disease, stroke or even death.

A Fib
Atrial fibrillation, or "a fib," is the most common type of arrhythmia - it affects about 2.2 million Americans, with 160,000 new cases diagnosed annually.

Whether the condition is intermittent or chronic, patients with "a fib" are at higher risk for blood clots and strokes.

Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation
At Our Lady of the Lake, affiliated physicians provide a broad range of treatment options for patients with arrhythmia, from noninvasive interventions to device therapy to minimally invasive surgery.

Medications
Atrial fibrillation can be treated with medications to slow the heart rate or revert the heart rhythm back to normal. Surgical and catheter-based therapies can also be used to prevent recurrence of a-fib in certain individuals.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

  • Lariat procedure - LARIAT™ is a procedure that may reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (a-fib or AF). The procedure gives an option to patients who cannot take blood thinners. Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center is the first hospital in the state to offer this new procedure.

  • Convergent procedure - This two-part surgery involves ablating inside and outside of the heart. It's typically done on patients with aggressive atrial fibrillation. While one surgeon guides catheters through a vein leading from the groin into the left heart chamber to create scar tissue and suppress abnormal electrical signals, another surgeon works outside the heart, making a small incision in the chest and inserting a tiny camera to help view areas that need ablation.

  • Robotic surgical system - The Heart & Vascular Institute uses the state-of-the-art Hansen Sensei® X Robotic Catheter System to treat atrial flutters, which lessens patients' exposure to radiation and allows doctors controlled access through what would otherwise be an extremely complex procedure. The procedure, called atrial fibrillation ablation, uses catheters, led through the groin, to build an electrical roadmap of the heart and then destroys cells around the heart that are causing the abnormal heartbeat. The robot allows accuracy and control of catheter movement and positioning through 3D visualization.