Minimally Invasive AFib Treatment Could Restore Normal Heart Rhythm|
With Dr. Jason Budde
If you watch daytime TV or the evening news, chances are good you’ve seen a lot of ads for atrial fibrillation, or AFib, medications lately. That’s because this condition (a type of abnormal heart rhythm) affects about 3 million people in the United States, and is on the rise. The widespread marketing of AFib drugs may make it seem like medication is the only option, but in fact a highly effective treatment available at Blount Memorial Hospital focuses on restoring normal heart rhythm instead of just controlling heart rate. Blount Memorial thoracic surgeon Dr. Jason Budde explains.
“The goals of AFib treatment, in general, have evolved,” says Budde. “For those who are younger than age 70; have had AFib for no more than a couple of years; or who have frequent episodes of symptoms, such as fast heart rate, shortness of breath and emergency room visits while on rhythm medicines, the prescribed therapy is no longer simply to keep the heart rate under control. Today, the priority is to restore a normal rhythm.”
Budde explains that the potential benefits of restoring a normal rhythm include reduction of stroke and heart failure risks, fewer disruptions to quality of life, and prevention of the development of permanent AFib—a condition where the whole spectrum of symptoms and complications would worsen over the life of the patient.
Adds Budde, “For the proper patient, the chances of restoring a normal and healthy rhythm with minimally invasive surgery is greater than 90 percent. The surgery and cardiology personnel at Blount Memorial evaluate each patient to determine whether this procedure is the best option. While traditional, proven heart rhythm medications still are appropriate for some patients, we ultimately may eliminate the need for these medicines in up to half of those who have undergone surgery, thus eliminating a great deal of unwanted side effects and reducing cost.”
If you have been diagnosed with or are currently being treated for AFib, ask your cardiologist if the minimally invasive AFib conversion treatment available at Blount Memorial could be appropriate for you. If you experience possible symptoms of an arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), such as fast or slow heart beat, skipping beats, shortness of breath, chest pain, sweating, and lightheadedness or dizziness, tell your doctor immediately.
For more information, call 865-238-6181.