Doctors & patients are saying about 'A-Fib.com'...


"A-Fib.com is a great web site for patients, that is unequaled by anything else out there."

Dr. Douglas L. Packer, MD, FHRS, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

"Jill and I put you and your work in our prayers every night. What you do to help people through this [A-Fib] process is really incredible."

Jill and Steve Douglas, East Troy, WI 

“I really appreciate all the information on your website as it allows me to be a better informed patient and to know what questions to ask my EP. 

Faye Spencer, Boise, ID, April 2017

“I think your site has helped a lot of patients.”

Dr. Hugh G. Calkins, MD  Johns Hopkins,
Baltimore, MD


Doctors & patients are saying about 'Beat Your A-Fib'...


"If I had [your book] 10 years ago, it would have saved me 8 years of hell.”

Roy Salmon, Patient, A-Fib Free,
Adelaide, Australia

"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

"...masterful. You managed to combine an encyclopedic compilation of information with the simplicity of presentation that enhances the delivery of the information to the reader. This is not an easy thing to do, but you have been very, very successful at it."

Ira David Levin, heart patient, 
Rome, Italy

"Within the pages of Beat Your A-Fib, Dr. Steve Ryan, PhD, provides a comprehensive guide for persons seeking to find a cure for their Atrial Fibrillation."

Walter Kerwin, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA


Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation Prevents Recurrence Compared to Drugs

Several recent research trials and studies have demonstrated that up to 94% of patients with Atrial Fibrillation treated with catheter ablation are free from arrhythmia recurrence at one year.

And, with nearly one-half the chance of death, stroke, cardiac arrest, and cardiovascular hospitalization when compared to patients on antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs).

In addition, these studies show that catheter ablation could significantly improve patient quality-of-life versus a treatment strategy of drug therapy. (Also, ablation is a more cost-effective option over the long term.)

Recurrences Attributable to Comorbidities (Other Illnesses)

With so many catheter ablations for A-Fib being performed worldwide (some estimate over one million preformed last year), it’s inevitable that anecdotally you’ll hear of people having recurrences.

Comorbidities raise risk of A-Fib recurrence

Comorbidities raise risk of A-Fib recurrence

But recurrences are often attributable to comorbidities such as diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, obesity, etc.

For example, if you come in with sleep apnea, some centers won’t allow you to have a catheter ablation till you get the sleep apnea problem under control, because of the threat of recurrence.

To lower your risk of recurrence after a successful ablation, aim to avoid other health problems. Address your sleep apnea. Lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight. Stay fit, eat a healthy diet and limit alcohol consumption. These life choices can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes.

Staying in generally good health (and avoiding comorbidities) will lower your risk of recurrence of your A-Fib.

Why Not to Fear Recurrence: Consider a Worst-Case Scenario

For a moment, let’s discuss a worst-case scenario. At age 60 you are diagnosed with Lone A-Fib (no comorbidities) and have a catheter ablation which makes you A-Fib free.

It lasts 10 years. But think. For all those 10 years, you’ve know what a blessing it is being in normal sinus rhythm (NSR).

If your A-Fib recurs it’s not the end of the world. You and your doctor will deal with it.

Then, at age 70, your A-Fib returns. After a short touch-up ablation (which probably filled in some gaps that appeared in the ablation lines), you’re once again A-Fib free. And, you will probably live in normal sinus for the rest of your life.

(This scenario worked out pretty well, don’t you think.) If your A-Fib recurs it’s not the end of the world. You and your doctor will deal with it.

For A-Fib Patients Reluctant About Catheter Ablation

The track record for successful catheter ablation to treat Atrial Fibrillation is impressive. And continues to outperform treatment with antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs).

While recurrence does happen, it’s mostly after years of living A-Fib free in normal sinus rhythm. If that happens, often it only requires a “touch-up” ablation to get back once again in normal sinus rhythm.

It makes no sense to not have a catheter ablation because of some remote possibility you might have a recurrence!

On a Personal Note

My 21-year Catheter Ablation ‘Warranty’ Ran Out! 

My A-Fib returned in Sept. 2018. Recurrence didn’t come as much of a surprise. Back in 1998 my ablation was primitive compared to what EPs are doing today. They actually ablated inside just one of my pulmonary veins (PVs) to eliminate the A-Fib signal source. -> Read how Steve Ryan’s became A-Fib-free again.

Resource for this article

• Biosense Webster, Inc. Announces Catheter Ablation May Be up to 10 Times More Effective Than Standard Drug Therapy Alone at Delaying Progression of Atrial Fibrillation. October 3, 2019. ESC Congress

• ESC 2019: Catheter ablation may be up to 10 times more effective than drug therapy alone at delaying AF progression. Cardiac Rhythm News. 2nd September 2019. https://tinyurl.com/25xykh3k

• Philips, T. et al. Improving procedural and one-year outcome after contact force-guided pulmonary vein isolation: the role of interlesion distance, ablation index, and contact force variability in the ‘CLOSE’-protocol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29315411/ doi: 10.1093/europace/eux376

• Johnson &Johnson, October 3, 2019. Biosense Webster, Inc. Announces Catheter Ablation May Be up to 10 Times More Effective Than Standard Drug Therapy Alone at Delaying Progression of Atrial Fibrillation. https://tinyurl.com/4n7xdsh5

Additional Sources:

• Hussein A, et al. Prospective use of Ablation Index targets improves clinical outcomes following ablation for atrial fibrillation. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2017. 28 (9): 1037-1047.

• Taghji P, et al. Evaluation of a Strategy Aiming to Enclose the Pulmonary Veins With Contiguous and Optimized Radiofrequency Lesions in Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation: A Pilot Study. JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2018. 4 (1): 99-108.

• Phlips T, et al. Improving procedural and one-year outcome after contact force-guided pulmonary vein isolation: the role of interlesion distance, ablation index, and contact force variability in the ‘CLOSE’-protocol. Europace 2018. 20. (FI_3): f419-f427.

• Solimene F, et al. (2019) Safety and efficacy of atrial fibrillation ablation guided by Ablation Index module. J Interv Card Electrophysiol 2019. 54 (1): 9-15.

• Di Giovanni G, et al. One-year follow-up after single procedure Cryoballoon ablation: a comparison between the first and second generation balloon. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2014. 25 (8): 834-839.

• Jourda F, et al. Contact-force guided radiofrequency vs. second-generation balloon cryotherapy for pulmonary vein isolation in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation-a prospective evaluation. Europace 17 2015. (2): 225-231.

• Lemes C, et al. One-year clinical outcome after pulmonary vein isolation in persistent atrial fibrillation using the second-generation 28 mm cryoballoon: a retrospective analysis. 2016. Europace 18 (2): 201-205.

• Guhl EN, et al. Efficacy of Cryoballoon Pulmonary Vein Isolation in Patients With Persistent Atrial Fibrillation. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2016. 27 (4): 423-427.

• Irfan G,  et al. One-year follow-up after second-generation cryoballoon ablation for atrial fibrillation in a large cohort of patients: a single-centre experience. 2016 Europace 18 (7): 987-993.

• Boveda S, et al. Single-Procedure Outcomes and Quality-of-Life Improvement 12 Months Post-Cryoballoon Ablation in Persistent Atrial Fibrillation: Results From the Multicenter CRYO4PERSISTENT AF Trial. JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2018.  4 (11): 1440-1447

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