AF increases the risk of strokes, especially in older patients, and in
those with additional risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes
or heart failure. AF may also result in death.
Although medication can help in some cases, an exciting treatment
option is ablation—or cauterization—of the abnormal, electrically
active regions of the heart, primarily in the left atrium. Ablation
uses an energy source to eliminate the heart tissue abnormality
that is causing the arrhythmia.
“Ablation, while complex, can be done safely with minimal risk to
the patient,” says Rajiv Nair, MD, and SJMO electrophysiologist.
“The AF ablation procedure can be performed in three different
ways, depending on the individual needs of each patient. Ablation
achieves great results.”
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is a Thomson Reuters Top 100 Heart
Hospital and The Heart Institute offers all three ablation methods.
Catheter ablation, in which a cardiologist who has specialized
in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders (electrophysiologist)
inserts catheters through the veins into the heart and corrects
Minimally-invasive surgical ablation, which is performed by cardiac
surgeons who often are assisted by electrophysiologists
Ablation, performed by surgeons at the time of an open-chest
procedure, such as cardiac bypass or valve surgery
“Careful patient selection is crucial for this complex procedure to
be successful,” stresses Dr. Nair. “Patients need to be involved in
a detailed discussion of various treatment options, the risks and
benefits, and the follow up.”
For a referral or to find a SJMO cardiac expert near you, please
call our physician referral line at 800.372.6094.