"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su Cavanaugh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

"I love your [A-fib.com] website, Patti and Steve! An excellent resource for anybody seeking credible science on atrial fibrillation plus compelling real-life stories from others living with A-Fib. Congratulations…"

Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

"Steve, your website was so helpful. Thank you! After two ablations I am now A-fib free. You are a great help to a lot of people, keep up the good work."

Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013

Dr. Stanley Nattel, U of Montreal

S. Nattel, MD

AF Symposium 2017

Some Forms of Fibrosis May Be Reversible

Background: Fibrosis is tissue with fiber-like characteristics; over time it makes the heart stiff, less flexible and weak, overworks the heart, reduces pumping efficiency and leads to other heart problems.

Dr. Stanley Nattel of the University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada discussed whether fibrosis is reversible. In a very hopeful study for Atrial Fibrillation patients, he concluded that some forms or types of fibrosis are indeed reversible.

Heart Attack Fibrosis

Dr. Nattel described a typical heart attack victim who experiences actual heart tissue damage and areas of heart tissue death. In these damaged heart areas, fibrous tissue replaces dead cardiomyocytes (scarring). This form of fibrosis may be irreversible.

A 30% weight lost reduced fibrosis in overweight sheep, as well as inflammation and incidence of A-Fib.

Interstitial (A-Fib) Fibrosis

But A-Fib fibrosis is often “purely interstitial” or reactive to the A-Fib. (“Interstitial” refers to the space between cells or myocytes.) This type of fibrosis may indeed be reversible.

Dr. Nattel described his experiments with overweight sheep. A 30% weight lost reduced fibrosis (collagen formation) in these overweight sheep, as well as inflammation and incidence of A-Fib.

(For more research findings, see Dr. Jose Jalife’s experiments in sheep which reduced fibrosis by 50%: The Holy Grail: Preventing A-Fib by a GAl-3 Inhibitor.)

What Patients Need to Know

Some A-Fib Fibrosis May Be Reversible: This is encouraging for A-Fib patients. Even if you develop fibrosis from being in A-Fib, some of this fibrosis may be reversible.

Returning to normal sinus rhythm may reverse a good deal of fibrosis in your heart.

But much more research needs to be done to figure out how best to reverse A-Fib fibrosis. And some long-term A-Fib fibrosis may indeed be irreversible when it produces lasting scarring (dead fibrotic tissue).

Don’t Live in A-Fib and Develop Fibrosis: If you have A-Fib, you are most likely developing a fibrotic heart. The good news from Dr. Nattel (and Dr. Jalife) is that returning to normal sinus rhythm may reverse a good deal of fibrosis in your heart.

In spite of what you hear in today’s media and advertisements, don’t just live in A-Fib and develop fibrosis! Seek your cure!

Return to 2017 AF Symposium Reports
If you find any errors on this page, email us. Last updated: Friday, March 3, 2017

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