Features May 2010 Issue

Ablation vs Medication for Atrial Fibrillation

There are many things to consider when choosing a treatment.

Patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) have two choices for ending the sudden episodes of racing heartbeat: anti-arrhythmia medication or an interventional procedure called catheter ablation. A study in the January 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded that catheter ablation did a far better job at stopping the distressing episodes and restoring quality of life in patients whose AFib had not responded to one anti-arrhythmia medication. Despite these findings, however, Cleveland Clinic arrhythmia specialists warn the decision in favor of catheter ablation is not always cut-and-dried.

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