Part of St. Francis' comprehensive heart program are advanced treatments for irregular heartbeat caused by atrial fibrillation or other types of arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation can be detected by heart studies performed at the St. Francis Heart Center or a cardiologist's office. These studies can include an electrocardiogram, Holter monitor, coronary angiography, echocardiogram or electrophysiology study.
Cardiac ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that destroys areas in the heart that cause heart rhythm problems, including atrial fibrillation. During this procedure, the physician makes a small cut into one of the blood vessels in either the neck, arm or groin. Then, a small, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted through this cut. The doctor uses live x-ray images to carefully guide the catheter up into the heart.
Once the catheter is in place, several flexible tubes that contain electrodes are run through the catheter. These are placed in different small blood vessels in the heart and are connected to monitors that tell what area is causing problems with heart rhythm. One of the catheter lines sends electrical energy to the problem area to create a scar. The scarring causes the heart rhythm problem to stop.
Specialized cardiologists called Electrophysiologists are the ones who diagnose and treat heart rhythm problems like atrial fibrillation. If you think you may have atrial fibrillation or other heart rhythm problems, talk with your primary care physician about a referral to a Bon Secours Medical Group cardiologist.