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Minimally Invasive Hybrid Procedure for Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common heart rhythm disturbances in the world, affecting almost three million people in the US. It is also one of the more challenging cardiac conditions to treat, particularly for patients who suffer from persistent or permanent atrial fibrillation. Medical and surgical treatments are available to control arhythmias but none of the conventional treatment methods provide optimal results for patients with chronic or persistent atrial fibrillation.

At the Maimonides Heart & Vascular Center, we have adopted a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of atrial fibrillation, drawing on the expertise of cardiothoracic surgeons and electrophysiologists (EPs). This convergent procedure is a minimally invasive, epicardial (outside the heart) and endocardial (inside the heart) approach to treatment.

What is the convergent procedure?

This minimally invasive procedure offers access to the heart without requiring chest incisions or ports, lung deflation, or pericardial dissections. First, the surgeon inserts a videoscope to view the beating heart through a single, small incision in the abdomen. The surgeon then creates a series of linear lesions on the surface of the heart using radiofrequency ablation. Finally, the electrophysiologist uses three-dimensional endocardial mapping and ablation inside the heart to isolate the pulmonary veins and the posterior left atrium.

What are the benefits of the convergent procedure?

The Maimonides Heart & Vascular Center is one of the few centers currently able to perform this procedure because our cardiac surgeons and electrophysiologists work collaboratively. Higher success rates and fewer complications are possible because each specialty (electrophysiologist and cardiac surgeon) can ablate areas of the heart which are best suited to their different approaches.

The Heart & Vascular Center is actively engaged in innovating and evaluating technologies and techniques which can improve patient care. The convergent procedure has become a cornerstone of our Atrial Fibrillation Program because it allows us to utilize our unique expertise to benefit atrial fibrillation patients who may have otherwise had a poor prognosis or who may previously have been considered untreatable.

Who is a candidate for the convergent procedure?

Patients with long-term, persistent atrial fibrillation and an enlarged left atrium are good candidates. It’s important to note that not everyone with atrial fibrillation needs a procedure. Our center evaluates patients on an individual basis to create personalized treatment plans that offer the best results and the least risk. For more information, please call (718) 283-6842.