Atrial Fibrillation and the Mini Maze Procedure Video

Atrial fibrillation is the irregular rapid heartbeat of the upper heart chambers caused by abnormal electrical signals. Dr Ali Ghessari discusses the minimally invasive MiniMaze Procedure, which returns the heart to normal.
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Female Speaker: The most common cardiac arrhythmia doctors encounter is atrial fibrillation. This irregular fluttering or rapid heartbeat of the upper chambers is caused by the heart's abnormal electrical signals, and left untreated may lead to permanent heart damage. A recent male clinic study estimated that more than 6 million Americans currently have atrial fibrillation, and according to the Journal of the American Heart Association may affect nearly 16 million Americans by the year 2050. Ali Gheissari: Atrial fibrillation is a result of an abnormality of the electrical system of the heart. If you can imagine, there are sparks on the outside of the heart, in the area of the pulmonary veins, which propagate their signal to the rest of the atria and makes the heart beat fast. The atrium starts beating about 200-300 times a minute. What happens then is the lower chamber of the heart, which is called the ventricle, starts beating fast and irregularly. This will give the patient a feeling of fatigue, shortness of breath, and sometimes pressure on the heart. When this happens, more importantly, blood clot can form in the atrium, and when blood clot forms in the atrium, there is a high chance of getting a stroke. As a matter of fact in patients with atrial fibrillation, the risk of stroke is about five times that of the general population. It is estimated that about 15-20% of all strokes are due to atrial fibrillation. People should refer themselves to a doctor and get checked as soon as they have a feeling of irregular heartbeat or a quivering in their chest. Some people have described atrial fibrillation as pigeons fluttering in their chest. That's important because when patients initially get atrial fibrillation, it usually is a temporary condition, but if it's left unchecked and untreated, it can become much more chronic and permanent and much more difficult to treat. Female Speaker: Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are working together to discover a cure for atrial fibrillation. Traditional treatments have included the use of medication to restore normal rhythm or stroke preventing blood thinners. Many patients however cannot tolerate these medications. For these, the minimally invasive mini-maze procedure may be the solution. Ali Gheissari: The mini-maze procedure is a minimally invasive approach which allows us easy excess to the outside of the heart, to isolate the errant electrical signals which create atrial fibrillation, as well as to remove the left atrial appendage, which is the area where blood clot forms and cause a stroke. Female Speaker: The procedure begins using a dissecting tool to thread a guide catheter under the pulmonary veins. The guide catheter is attached to the ablation device, guiding it into place upon the heart. Then, controlled energy is introduced to create a barrier to isolate abnormal electrical signals. Then the area is tested to ensure a total block of the abnormal electrical signals. Finally, the left atrial appendage is removed to prevent the formation of stroke causing blood clots. Ali Gheissari: The goal of the mini-maze procedure is to restore normal sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation, without them having to use antiarrhythmic drugs or blood thinners. We are very encouraged by the success rate of the mini-maze procedure. The most recent published studies have shown a 90% success rate at one year with the mini-maze procedure, with patients being in normal sinus rhythm, without any need to take any antiarrhythmic medications or blood thinners. Female Speaker: The mini-maze procedure should be considered for patients who cannot tolerate their medications, have had one or two failed catheter ablations, or who cannot have catheter ablations. Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles, welcomes you to learn more about atrial fibrillation and the mini-maze procedure. Contact Dr. Gheissari at 1-800-GS-CARES, or visit our website at www.goodsam.org. Good health to you.

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