At Memorial Hermann, affiliated physicians provide a broad range of heart arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation treatment options, from noninvasive treatments to device therapy to minimally invasive procedures.
Many medications are available to treat atrial fibrillation and other types of arrhythmia. In most cases, these medications have to be taken for the rest of the patient’s life.
Physicians affiliated with Memorial Hermann perform a wide range of surgical and minimally invasive procedures to treat patients with heart arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation, or AFib. Unlike traditional open heart surgery, minimally invasive surgeries are performed using small instruments through much smaller incisions, Minimally invasive surgeries, typically can be much less traumatic. Patients have been found to experience less pain and bleeding, lower risk of infection, shorter hospital stays and reduced recovery times.
Physicians affiliated with Memorial Hermann perform two non-surgical heart rhythm treatments: heart ablation and cardioversion.
For arrhythmias caused by abnormal heart tissue, heart ablation, also known as catheter radiofrequency ablation, can be used to destroy the abnormal heart tissue. During the procedure, catheters (thin, flexible tubes) are threaded through the patient's blood vessels to reach the abnormal heart tissue. The cardiologist then uses a small cutter or radiofrequency energy to remove the abnormal tissue.
To correct atrial fibrillation or reset the heart to its regular rhythm (sinus rhythm), physicians may perform a procedure called cardioversion using either medications or electricity.
Medicines (anti-arrhythmics) are used to stop the heart's quivering and restore normal sinus rhythm. The medications help maintain sinus rhythm for at least one year in 50 percent to 65 percent of people. However, they can cause side effects such as nausea and fatigue, as well as some long-term risks. In rare cases, the medications may adversely affect heart rhythm.
While under light anesthesia, a patient receives an electrical shock through paddles or patches on the chest. The shock stops the heart's electrical activity for a split second. When the heart's electrical activity resumes, the rhythm may be normal.
Cardioversion is not always effective. While it may successfully restore regular heart rhythm in more than 95 percent of patients, more than half of patients eventually go back into arrhythmia. In many instances, the patient must take anti-arrhythmic medications indefinitely.
Physicians affiliated with Memorial Hermann utilize implantable devices to treat patients suffering from atrial fibrillation (AFib).
A pacemaker is a device, smaller than a matchbox, that is placed under the skin near the collarbone to help regulate a patient’s heartbeat. A wire extends from the pacemaker to the heart. If the pacemaker detects an abnormally slow heart rate (bradycardia) or the absence of a heartbeat, it emits electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to speed up or resume beating. A pacemaker is often implanted if medications to prevent arrhythmia or control the heart rate result in an excessively slow rate. A pacemaker may also be implanted after Atrioventricular (AV) node ablation.
Patients at Memorial Hermann have access to the innovative WATCHMAN treatment that reduces the risk of stroke caused by non-valvular Afib. The WATCHMAN is a small parachute-shaped device that permanently closes off the left atrial appendage, a site where clots can form and increase the risk of stroke. Implantation takes about an hour and once the device is implanted, it will not require replacement. In addition to reducing a patient’s risk of stroke, the WATCHMAN also eliminates the need for blood-thinning medications.
Yes. Your cardiologist and/or electrophysiologist will review the requirements with you to determine if you are a candidate for WATCHMAN. Listed below are criteria for WATCHMAN:
The WATCHMAN device fits into a part of your heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA). 90 percent of blood clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA. WATCHMAN permanently closes off this part of your heart to keep those blood clots from escaping. Your doctor will explain the procedure to you during your visit.
To learn more about treatment options, our cardiologists, or treatment facilities please use our contact form or schedule an appointment with a Memorial Hermann Cardiologist online »
If you have questions regarding the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute, our cardiologists, or treatment facilities, please use our contact form below or call (713) 222-2273 for more information.
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