Open Heart Surgery

Atrial Fibrillation Surgery

Genesis offers a surgical alternative to correct atrial fibrillation in some patients who suffer from the condition that affects approximately 2.7 million people in the United States.

Atrial fibrillation is marked by periods of rapid, irregular heart rhythm resulting from abnormal electrical impulses in the atrium of the heart. When the condition occurs, the patient is at a greater risk for stroke.

The surgery is a permanent solution for those who cannot tolerate or do not get relief from the medications traditionally prescribed to control the problem.

“The surgery involves the interruption of irregular impulses by creating small scars within the atrium of the heart. The unwanted impulses cannot travel across the scarred area so they can no longer disrupt heart function,” comments Eduardo Jorge, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon with Cardiothoracic Surgical Services of Zanesville.  “The surgery now available at Genesis is an advancement over the Maze procedure that involved making and stitching small cuts on the interior of the heart to form the scars. Now the same scarring effect is achieved with the use of microwave and radio frequency, eliminating the risks involved with making incisions in the heart.”

Patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation are at great risk for stroke and heart failure because the rapid and irregular impulses upset the normal sinus rhythm of the heart. The heart doesn’t empty well and the blood that remains can form clots. When the patient is in atrial fibrillation, their normal heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute may increase to as much as 110-180 beats per minute. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, chest pains, fatigue and fainting.

While the surgery may not be ideal for every patient with atrial fibrillation, it is a permanent solution for those who do not respond to the traditional medical therapies or cannot tolerate blood thinners for various reasons. Dr. Jorge recommends patients discuss their symptoms with a cardiologist to determine the appropriate course of treatment.