Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Where Do We Stand?

  1. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common heart arrhythmia that increases a patient's risk of stroke and has a significant negative impact on quality of life; however, it is an arrhythmia that historically has had few effective treatment options. Side effects associated with antiarrhythmic drugs and the inadequacy of a rate-control strategy in highly symptomatic patients led researchers to investigate new ways of treating this disorder. AF ablation is currently one of the most promising treatment options, but this field is still in the early stages of its evolution. Although outcomes following both surgical and catheter-based AF ablation are steadily improving, there is no real consensus about which patients are the most appropriate candidates for ablation, or whether one technique is superior to another. Moreover, new technologies continue to refine these procedures. The field of surgical AF ablation, in particular, is an area that has witnessed a remarkable evolution over the past several years, from the use of highly invasive "cut and sew" techniques to new methods that employ energy-based probes in a minimally invasive, beating-heart procedure.

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    Last edit by sirI on Nov 5, '06
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    About sirI, MSN, APRN, NP Admin

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  3. by   AfloydRN
    The hospital I started out in CCU employs a cardio thoracic surgeon who " invented" the MAZE procedure for ablation. It is absolutely amazing and he performs this quite a bit.
  4. by   DutchgirlRN
    Interesting article. I enjoyed reading it. I do have a particular interest in surgical ablation....My FIL had a surgical ablation done for A-fib earlier this year. He experienced a collapsed lung as a result of the surgery (physician error). He never did convert to a NSR. Poor guy he really went thru h***. He lives in NC. He told me the surgeon was one of the pioneers of this procedure which was done in Asheville, NC. He still suffers from A-fib and of course is on coumadin. I suppose he's now considered chronic A-fib. I'll have to check with him to see what his cardiac surgeons name is. This is interesting indeed...
    Last edit by DutchgirlRN on Nov 5, '06