Treating AFib Close to Home

Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center offers a variety of minimally invasive treatments for AFib. We’re on the forefront of procedure options for this potentially life-threatening condition.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, is a type of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) which causes numerous debilitating symptoms. Symptoms can include:
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
Leaving persistent AFib untreated can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure, as well as other heart-related complications.

How is AFib Treated?

There are many things to consider when it comes to treating AFib. The treatment plan can vary based on:
  • Severity
  • Presence of other medical issues
  • How long AFib has been present
Treatment options can include medications, nonsurgical procedures and surgical procedures.

Minimally-Invasive Treatment Options for AFib

Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Atrial fibrillation ablation involves threading a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter into the heart through a blood vessel in the arm, upper thigh, or neck. Live X-ray images are used to carefully guide the catheter into the heart. Several flexible tubes with electrodes on the tips are run through the catheter and placed in different small blood vessels in the heart. Sections of the heart are then mapped to locate abnormal tissue.

Energy is applied to destroy targeted tissue that has been identified as causing the irregular heartbeat. Two types of energy that can be used in the procedure are radiofrequency to generate heat or liquid nitrogen to freeze the targeted area of the heart. The resulting scar line then acts as a barrier between affected tissue and the rest of the healthy heart, stopping abnormal electrical signals that cause an irregular heartbeat.

Convergent Procedure

We’re the first in Palm Beach, Broward and Martin County to offer a minimally invasive procedure that combines the best of electrophysiology and cardiac surgery treatments to help restore normal heart rhythm for longtime sufferers of atrial fibrillation, or AFib. Early clinical experience has shown that the convergent approach, conducted in a single operating room setting, improves early outcomes for the most challenging patients and reduces procedure times when compared to approaches where the two disciplines work separately.

How it Works

Our cardiac surgeons and electrophysiologists (EPs) 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 the 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.

What to Expect

Following the convergent approach procedure, it is possible that your 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 you should be back to your normal activities quickly.

Laparoscopic Atrial Fibrillation Surgery

AFib can be treated laparoscopically and new minimally invasive surgeries are available for select patients. These minimally invasive options include the following benefits:

  • Takes a fraction of the time of a standard operation
  • Reduce blood loss
  • Quicker recovery times


The WATCHMAN™ implant is designed to act as a barrier to prevent left atrial appendage blood clots from entering the bloodstream and blocking a blood vessel. 1st Hospital to perform the WATCHMAN FLX procedure in Northern Palm Beach County. AFib patients:

  • Have a five times greater risk of stroke
  • Typically have to take a long-term blood thinning drug with potentially serious side effects.

Watchman is a new alternative implant device that is designed to reduce your risk of stroke, or even free you from the burden of long-term blood thinner medications.

Speak to a Cardiovascular AFib Nurse Navigator

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