Ablation or Modification of the Atrioventricular (AV) Node and Implanting a Pacemaker
From a patient’s point of view, this is a procedure of last resort. Each heartbeat normally starts in the right atrium where a specialized group of cells called the sinus node generates an electrical signal that travels down a single electrical road (the Atrioventricular [AV] Node) that connects the atria to the ventricles below. By ablating or eliminating this AV Node, your Atrial Fibrillation signals can’t get to the ventricles which does stop your heart from racing.
But for your heart to beat at all or at the proper rate, you must have a permanent pacemaker implanted in your heart for the rest of your life.
An AV Node ablation is irreversible. What’s worse, you still have A-Fib and have to forever take anticoagulants to prevent stroke. Also, patients with Paroxysmal (occasional) A-Fib often develop permanent A-Fib after an AV Node Ablation.
In addition, when you eliminate the AV Node, there is a risk of sudden death because of the ventricles beating too fast. Another factor to be aware of is A-Fib over time may decrease mental abilities and lead to dementia.
Biventricular pacing is generally preferred over uni-ventricular pacing which potentially can worsen or even cause heart failure by one ventricle beating out of sync with the other.
If you have a bad Sinus Node and would need a pacemaker anyway, this procedure might work for you.
But an AV Node Ablation and Pacemaker does work. Patients report an improved quality of life (being able to golf 18 holes) than when A-Fib made their heart race and they were in symptomatic A-Fib.
Last updated: Sunday, February 8, 2015
Treatments for Atrial Fibrillation include both short-term and long-term approaches aimed at controlling or eliminating the abnormal heart rhythm associated with A-Fib.
Doctors have several technologies and diagnostic tests to aid them in evaluating your A-Fib. Go to Diagnostic Testing ->
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• Understanding the EKG Signal
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A deficiency in minerals like magnesium or potassium can force the heart into fatal arrhythmias. When you have A-Fib, a sensible starting point is to check for chemical imbalances or deficiencies. Go to Mineral Deficiencies ->
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Medications (drug therapies) for A-Fib patients are designed to regain and maintain normal heart rhythm, control the heart rate (pulse), and prevent stroke. Go to Drug Therapies ->
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The goal of cardioversion is to restore your heart to normal rhythm. There are two types of cardioversion: chemical and electrical. Cardioversion through the use of drugs is called chemical cardioversion. Electrical cardioversion uses a timed electrical shock to restore normal rhythm. Go to Cardiversion ->
RF and CryoBalloon catheter ablation are minimally invasive procedures that block electrical signals which trigger erratic heart rhythms like Atrial Fibrillation. Go to Catheter Ablation ->
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The traditional open-heart Cox-Maze is usually performed concurrent with other heart disease treatments. More common are the various Mini-Maze surgeries which are stand-alone surgeries performed through small port-size incisions in the chest. Go to Maze, Mini-Maze & Hybrid ->
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• Advances in Surgical Therapy for A-Fib by Dr. David Kess
• Role of the LAA & Removal Issues
From a patient’s point of view, this is a procedure of last resort. By ablating or eliminating the AV Node, your Atrial Fibrillation signals can’t get to the ventricles which does stop your heart from racing and improves your Quality of Life. But you must have a permanent pacemaker implanted in your heart for the rest of your life to replace your AV Node functions. And what’s worse, you still have Atrial Fibrillation. Go to Ablation of the AV Node->
Pacemakers may be implanted for pacing support, or in conjunction with Ablation of the AV Node (see above). Implanting a pacemaker seems to be most helpful if you have a slow heart rate or pauses as a result of taking A-Fib medications. But be advised that pacemakers tend to have bad effects over the long term.
ICDs which shock the heart to return it to normal rhythm are not usually used in A-Fib. Some people describe an ICD shock as like a horse kicking you in the chest. Because A-Fib attacks can occur relatively frequently, repeated ICD shocks can be very painful and disruptive. Patients with ICDs often live in fear of the next shock. Most patients would rather have A-Fib than risk being shocked throughout the day and night.
When considering treatments for atrial fibrillation, you may ask,“Which is the best A-Fib treatment option for me?” This is a decision only you and your doctor can make. Here are some guidelines to help you. I’ve listed A-Fib conditions as patients might describe them. Select one (or more) that best describes your A-Fib and read your possible options. Go to Decision About Treatment Options ->
A-Fib is a progressive disease – Don’t wait – Seek a CURE as soon as practical.
I Beat my A-Fib—So can YOU!
Last updated: Monday, November 21, 2016