Rhode Island Hospital
593 Eddy Street
Providence, RI 02903
. . . . . .
Frank Sellke, MD
Arun K. Singh, MD
Afshin Ehsan, MD
Neel R. Sodha, MD
Atrial fibrillation is one of the more common types of cardiac
arrhythmia. The condition occurs when the atria (the two upper chambers
of the heart) do not open properly due to irregularities in the
transmission of electrical impulses through the heart. As a result, the
heart is unable to pump blood properly, causing an irregular heartbeat.
This may result in blood clots, which can move to an artery in the
brain, resulting in a stroke. Atrial fibrillation also increases the
risk of congestive heart failure and can further complicate other types
of heart diseases, particular those involving heart valves.
Surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation requires surgical incisions in
the receiving chambers (atria) of the heart, to destroy abnormal
electrical pathways. When local freezing, radiotherapy or ultrasound is
applied to these pathways, further destruction of the abnormal pathways
occurs, reverting the heart rhythm to normal. Our surgeons have
completed hundreds of successful surgical procedures for atrial
fibrillation, using both cryoablation and bipolar radiofrequency