Features April 2016 Issue

Don’t Wait to Ablate Your Atrial Fibrillation

Catheter ablation to treat atrial fibrillation involves the use of a mapping catheter (upper left) to precisely locate the source of the chaotic electrical signals and a catheter that can send a signal to deaden that tissue (lower right).

Don’t Wait to Ablate Your Atrial Fibrillation

Recent study finds that reducing the time between the first appearance of symptoms and catheter ablation makes a big difference in outcomes.

Atrial fibrillation affects an estimated 10 percent of Americans 65 and older. It develops when there is a disruption to the usual electrical activity in the heart that keeps it pumping in a healthy rhythm. Electrical signals in the atria become chaotic and unpredictable, causing the heart to beat in an erratic manner. This reduces the pumping efficiency of the heart and raises the risk of blood pooling in the heart and forming a clot. A blood clot that exits the heart can make its way to the brain and cause a stroke.

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