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PBGMC Offers Innovative Procedure to Treat Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

Jul 6, 2015

New minimally invasive approach may help those with few treatment options

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (July 6, 2015) – The Heart & Vascular Institute at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center is the first in Palm Beach, Broward, and Martin County to adopt a new procedure called the convergent approach for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, or AFib.

The minimally invasive procedure combines electrophysiology and cardiac surgery treatments to help restore normal heart rhythm for longtime suffers of AFib. Early clinical experience has shown that the convergent approach, conducted in a single operating room setting, may improve early outcomes for the most challenging patients and can reduce procedure times when compared to approaches where the two disciplines work separately.

“The convergent approach is a groundbreaking advancement for long-suffering AFib patients who may have been unsuccessful with other treatments,” said Jeffrey M. Welch, CEO of Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. “We are excited to offer the community an alternative treatment option that is designed to reduce recovery times and improve patients’ overall quality of life.”

Utilizing the convergent approach, the cardiac surgeon and the electrophysiologist (EP) work together to perform cardiac ablation on a beating heart, using radiofrequency (focused heat) to produce scar tissue on the heart to block abnormal electrical signals. The surgeon is able to create comprehensive, linear lesions on the outside surface of a beating heart through a small, one-inch incision made in the patient’s abdomen. There are no chest incisions and/or ports, as in other surgical ablation procedures. The EP then threads a catheter through the patient’s femoral vein, in the groin, to reach the heart and fill in any gaps in the ablation. The EP utilizes diagnostic techniques to confirm that all abnormal electrical signals have been interrupted. The entire procedure lasts roughly half the time of a single-discipline catheter ablation procedure.

Following the convergent approach procedure, it is possible that the patient’s daily rhythm medications may be reduced or even eliminated. Typical hospital stays last two to three days, compared to five days or more for more invasive heart surgery, and patients could be back to their normal activities more quickly.

For more than three decades, the award-winning Heart & Vascular Institute at Palm Beach Gardens has delivered advanced cardiac care to the community. To learn more about the services offered, please visit www.pbgmc.com/our-services/heart.

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