“I’m getting by with my Atrial Fibrillation. With the recent improvements in Pulmonary Vein ablation techniques, should I wait until a better technique is developed?”
A-Fib is a progressive disease. The longer you have it, in general the worse it gets. In a process called “remodeling” your heart may change physically and electrically if you have A-Fib long enough. The longer you have A-Fib, the harder it is to cure.
For instance, a patient can be diagnosed with paroxysmal A-Fib initially and then transition to persistent, and eventually to long-standing persistent A-Fib. This progressive nature of atrial fibrillation is why doctors say, “A-Fib begets A-Fib”.
So, it’s important to be cured as soon as reasonably possible. See our Overview of A-Fib.
With today’s current Pulmonary Vein Ablation (Isolation) procedures using Pulmonary Vein Potentials, you have an 70%-85% chance of becoming A-Fib-free (in cases of Paroxysmal A-Fib). (The other 15% though not cured are often significantly improved; meds that didn’t work before may now work.) With a second ablation the success rate is 90% or greater.
So don’t wait. Your odds aren’t going to get much better than that.
¤ Haïssaguerre M. “Electrophysiological End Point for Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation Initiated From Multiple Pulmonary Venous Foci,” Circulation. 2000;101:p. 1409.
¤ Jaïs, P. NASPE Convention presentation, San Diego, CA, May 8, 2002.
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