Ablation Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation
In 1998, a brilliant Doctor in France Dr.Haïssaguerre described the role of Pulmonary Veins as triggers for A Fib. In other words, “bad” electrical impulses start out in the pulmonary veins, and spread to the left upper chamber of the heart (Left Atrium) and then cause the whole heart to beat rapidly and irregularly. This is how A Fib starts.
So over the last 10 years or so, Doctors, Scientists and Engineers have been working hard (of course with the financial support of large corporations and investors) to come up with techniques to get rid of these “bad cells” in the heart. This is called Ablation. Ablation often works in conjunction with various heart medicines, although once the ablation is successful (it can take up to 3 months for Ablation to work), then often we can cut back and even stop medicines used for A Fib.
The most commonly used type of Ablation in the world for A fib today is called Catheter based Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA). Several tens of thousand patients have been treated world wide with Radio Frequency Ablation, possibly over 50,000 patients…
Newer and investigational techniques for ablation such as cryoballoon ablation and surgical hybrid procedures such as the Convergent procedure are being constantly evaluated for safety and efficacy, but Catheter based Radio Frequency Ablation remains the gold standard as of now. There are a small portion of patients with very advanced A Fib who have failed 1 or more catheter based ablations, who may be candidates for more invasive Surgical or Hybrid Convergent procedures.