Atrial fibrillation (also called AF and AFib), the most common form of irregular heartbeat, affects more than 3 million people in the United States. It is most common in older adults, especially those with cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, heart failure and obesity.
AFib occurs when the electrical signals of your upper heart chambers (the atria) begin to misfire, causing erratic, uncoordinated pumping. This can lead to an increased chance of stroke and heart failure.
Because of this, you should seek Accurate Diagnosis and Treatment (PDF) as soon as you suspect a heart rhythm disorder.
We offer the full range of AFib care to reduce your risk, manage your symptoms and repair the problem. Here are some of the services we provide.
The Kanbar Cardiac Center
The Kanbar Cardiac Center at CPMC offers advanced technology and equipment to diagnose heart disease, treat people with irregular heartbeats and open blocked vessels or arteries.
Cardioversion is a non-invasive, outpatient procedure that uses high energy electric shock to restore a normal heart rhythm. A doctor administers electricity through paddles or patches on the chest while the patient is under light anesthesia.
Antiarrhythmics and anticoagulants are the two drugs most commonly prescribed for patients with AFib. In some patients, antiarrhythmic drugs help control the heart rate to restore a normal, consistent rhythm. Anticoagulants (blood thinners) help prevent blood clots to reduce the risk of stroke.
Cardiac ablation is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses a catheter to locate and destroy (ablate) tiny areas that are interfering with the heart’s normal electrical impulses. In many people, this can restore a normal heart rhythm long-term.
Maze refers to a specific type of cardiac ablation that creates a pattern of scars (ablation lines) on the heart. This “maze” reroutes electrical impulses to let them travel normally to the heart. The traditional Maze procedure is done during open heart surgery.
Pacemakers and Defibrillators
Our heart specialists use a variety of tools to keep the heart’s rhythm steady. A battery-powered pacemaker, installed in a short surgical procedure, helps keep the heart beating normally.
An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) detects rapid, irregular heartbeats and can send an electrical shock to the heart, returning the rhythm back to normal. We also offer wearable defibrillators for certain patients.