Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)
What is Atrial Fibrillation (A fib)?
Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a common form of arrhythmia, or irregular
heartbeat, that can lead to blood clots, stroke or heart failure if left
undiagnosed or untreated. In Afib, the top two chambers of the heart do
not contract properly, causing blood to pool in these atria. Understanding
the heart’s electrical system is important in understanding Afib.
Electrical impulses are sent with each heartbeat alerting the heart muscles
to contract in sequence. When these impulses get delayed or out of sync,
Afib can result. In paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF), the faulty electrical
signals and rapid heart rate begin suddenly and then stop on their own.
Symptoms can be mild or severe. They stop within about a week, but usually
in less than 24 hours.
Symptoms can include:
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Heart palpitations
- Dizziness, sweating and chest pain or pressure
- Shortness of breath or anxiety
- Tiring easily during exercise or activity
Who is at risk for Afib?
Any person can develop Atrial fibrillation (Afib) and millions of Americans
are affected. Men are diagnosed more often than women and the risk increases
with age. This is because the risk of heart disease and other conditions
that can cause Afib also increase with age.
Afib is more common in people with:
- High blood pressure
- Coronary heart disease
- Congenital heart defects
- Rheumatic heart disease
- Mitral valve problems
- History of heart attack
- Underlying heart disease
- Drinking alcohol in excess
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic conditions – having conditions such as diabetes, thyroid
problems or asthma can put patients at risk for developing Afib.
Arctic Front® CryoAblation
CryoAblation prevents unwanted electrical currents that contribute to paroxysmal
atrial fibrillation (PAF). The procedure uses a balloon to deliver a refrigerant
to the tissue, disabling these currents.
The procedure is performed using a specially-designed catheter to target
specific tissues and isolate the pulmonary vein. The catheter is inserted
through a small groin incision and threaded into the left atrium of the
heart. The balloon is placed at the juncture of the atrium and the pulmonary
vein and the refrigerant is used to scar the area enough to stop the problematic
Many patients who have been treated with Arctic Front® CryoAblation
have reported improved quality of life. They have also indicated a reduction
in symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue and weakness.
CaroMont Heart is first in the region to offer Arctic Front® CryoAblation
for the treatment of recurrent symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation
(PAF). With two board certified electrophysiologists,
Omer Shedd, MD, FHRS and
Gregory Woo, MD, FHRS, with more than 20 years of combined clinical experience, we are able
to provide excellent cardiology and vascular care. Please contact our
office at 704.83.HEART (43278) for more information.
Click here to learn more about CryoAblation.
Click here to download our brochure.