The Center utilizes the top-rated expertise and resources of Doylestown Health’s Heart Institute to offer a broad range of tailored AFib therapies including:
- Convergent ablation (The Convergent Approach)
- Lifestyle management
- Radiofrequency ablation
As a patient, you will receive an AFib treatment plan that is tailored just for you.
Why AFib Treatment is Important
AFib is a major risk factor for stroke and heart failure. According to the National Stroke Association, about 15 percent of all people who suffer a stroke have AFib. People with AFib are five times more likely to have a stroke.
Lifestyle changes and medications can control less severe cases of AFib. These changes may include:
- Avoiding certain cough and cold medications that may increase your risk of an irregular heart rhythm
- Limiting use of caffeine
- Limiting your intake of alcohol
- Quitting smoking.
Depending on your condition, you may require additional AFib treatment options.
Ablations and Other Procedures
An ablation therapy procedure uses radiofrequency waves to destroy a tiny area of your heart muscle. This stops it from creating the impulses that cause extra heartbeats.
There are different types of procedures which include:
Atrioventricular Node (AV node) Ablation
The atrioventricular node (AV node) is a part of your heart’s electrical control system that coordinates the top chambers. It electrically connects your atrial and ventricular chambers.
During this procedure catheters are inserted through the veins and guided to your heart. The AV node is severed or altered by radiofrequency energy which is delivered through a catheter, which then prevents the electrical signals of the atrium from reaching the ventricle. The outcome is permanent which results in a patient needing a pacemaker to maintain an adequate heart rate.
An electrical shock is delivered to the heart to convert, or change, an abnormal heart rhythm back to normal sinus rhythm in this corrective procedure.
Cryoablation is used to restore normal electrical conduction in the heart. A balloon-based technology ablates (destroys) heart tissue through the use of a coolant for freezing.
Epicardial Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) Ablation
During percutaneous Epicardial VT ablation, electrophysiologists target the abnormal rhythms on the outside of the heart without open-heart surgery. They use a small needle placed through the chest wall and into the pericardium. Special catheters are then placed through the needle and burns are accomplished on the outside of the heart to eliminate the dangerous arrhythmias.
Premature Ventricular Contraction (PVC) Ablation
Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are the most common type of irregular heartbeats. You can control most cases of PVC with lifestyle changes such as reducing or eliminating your caffeine, tobacco and alcohol intake and reducing stress and anxiety. A beta blocker medication may also be prescribed for patients with PVCs. Ablation is another treatment option for some patients with frequent or prolonged PVCs.
Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation
RF Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat some types of rapid heart beating, such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and atrial tachycardia. This procedure involves a guided catheter with an electrode at the tip. The catheter is directed at the damaged area of the heart muscle. A mild, painless radiofrequency energy is transmitted to the site of the pathway. Cells in a very small area of the heart muscle die and the heart stops conducting the extra impulses that caused the rapid heartbeats.
Cells in a very small area of the heart
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) Ablation
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a rapid heart rhythm that originates at or above the atrioventricular node. Catheter ablation of SVT is an option if you have significant side effects from medication.
Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) Ablation
VT is a tachycardia, or fast heart rhythm, that originates in one of the ventricles of the heart.
Electrophysiologists perform an ablations on patients who have severe weakening of the bottom chambers of the heart, called cardiomyopathy. Often these patients are prone to having life-threatening arrhythmias from the bottom chambers of the heart called ventricular tachycardia. Doylestown Hospital physicians have extensive expertise performing ablations of ventricular tachycardia.
Device Therapy: Pacemakers & Defibrillators
A pacemaker is a small electrical device, about the size of a half dollar piece. It is placed under the skin near your heart. Wires lead from the device to your heart. It sends out an electrical signal to steady contracting rhythms in your heart.
Bi-ventricular Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)
A bi-ventricular cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) may be used for patients with severe left ventricular heart failure. This allows for a more balanced method of controlling a rapid heartbeat. The biventricular ICD leads are attached in the right atrium, right ventricle and left ventricle, which then detects when the heart is beating at a faster than normal rate and shocks it back to normal.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a device that regulates the rate and rhythm of your heart. The device is implanted in patients who are at risk of sudden cardiac death due to recurrent, sustained ventricular fibrillation (abnormal heart rate). The ICD is implanted under the skin and programmed to send an electrical shock when it detects that the heart's ventricles are pumping at a faster than normal rate. This shock restores the heart rate to normal.
Surgical AFib Treatment
Electrophysiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons work together in a single setting to perform the convergent maze procedure. This surgery help restore your normal heart rhythm. A cardiothoracic surgeon reaches your heart via a 1-inch incision in your upper abdomen, using a video-assisted scope. The surgeon uses radiofrequency ablation to create scar tissue in problem areas of your heart. This blocks the abnormal electrical signals and restores your heart’s regular rhythm. The EP threads a catheter through your femoral vein, in your groin area, to reach your heart. The EP fills in any gaps in the ablation pattern. The EP uses diagnostic techniques to confirm the success of the procedure.
Learn more about convergent maze
For this procedure, the surgeon makes small cuts or burns in the atria. These cuts or burns prevent the spread of disorganized electrical signals. This procedure requires open-heart surgery, so it is usually performed at the time of surgery for other problems such as coronary artery disease or heart valve disease, which can increase the risk of AFib.
Find a Physician
Find a physician online or call 267-880-DHAF (3423) (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.) to speak with a referral counselor.