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 contract properly due to irregularities in the transmission of electrical impulses through the heart, causing an irregular heartbeat. As a result, the heart is unable to pump blood as efficiently. 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 disease, particular those involving heart valves.
Surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation requires creation of scar lines in the receiving chambers (atria) of the heart. These scar lines ablate abnormal electrical pathways, thus reverting the heart rhythm to normal. Our surgeons have completed hundreds of successful surgical procedures for atrial fibrillation, using both cryoablation and bipolar radiofrequency ablation. These ablation procedures happen in conjunction with other cardiac surgery operations or as a stand-alone procedure known as theEx-Maze.