Grandview Heart Health: What is atrial fibrillation, and how should you treat it?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CBS42 Community) – Atrial fibrillation, also called AFib, is a condition which is usually felt like a fluttering in the upper left side of your chest. AFib affects as many as six million Americans today, and many of them do not even know they have it.

Most people with AFib can be successfully treated by a cardiologist and lead healthy lives. If untreated, AFib is a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. Cardiologists at Grandview Medical Center are using cutting-edge technology to diagnose and treat this potentially life-threatening condition.

“We go through the groin and create a shell, a three-dimensional shell of the chamber, and that’s what we are displaying here,” said Dr. Gustavo Morales.

Morales uses three-dimensional mapping tools to look inside the heart and make a map. He then uses another probe to create scar tissue within the heart.

“We want to create areas of scar there to prevent the abnormal tissue inside the vein from firing out. It’s a controlled area of scar tissue. We want the veins to be silent,” Morales said.

Stopping the electrical activity allows the heart to return to its normal rhythm, reducing or ending symptoms of atrial fibrillation. The team at Grandview is also using another new technology to reduce the risk of stroke that can occur with AFib.

“This device is called the Watchman. (It comes out inside the heart) like a little umbrella. Eventually, the tissue grows on top of it to cause a complete seal there, and if the blood cannot get in, then there’s no clot formation in that area; therefore the risk of stroke is lower,” said Morales.

Grandview Medical Center’s accredited electrophysiology lab is pushing the limits of technology to bring life-changing treatments to patients. To find out more about what the cardiology team at Grandview Medical Center can do for you, visit http://www.grandviewhealth.com/cardiac-care.

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