Health Report 5/26/13 Treating Atrial Fibrillation

May 26th, 2013

It hit more than two million people in 2010 and it's expected to hit up to twelve million by 2050.
Atrial Fibrilation can make your heart beat out of whack and can cause some serious health problems.
Now, doctors are doubling up to help patients beat it when other treatments can't do the job.

For years, Michael Link struggled to exercise because of chronic Atrial Fibrillation.

Michael Link, has Chronic Atrial Fibrillation, said: "It limits what you can do physically."

A-fib is an abnormal heart rhythm that made him feel exhausted all the time. The condition can also lead to strokes. Surgery and medication did not help Michael.

Michael Link, "I was a hard case."

So, he tried a new hybrid procedure called N-contact. It's like two surgeries in one.

V. Seenu Reddy, MD, Cardiac Surgeon, said: "It is a variant of open heart surgery. We are operating on the beating heart."
First Doctor Seenu Reddy inserts a catheter under the diaphragm to get to the heart. Then he burns large areas on the exterior to stop the electrical signals that can trigger a-fib.

Dr. Reddy, "We're delivering energy to the heart."

Next, Dr. Gregory Bashian goes in with a smaller catheter to do the work that Reddy couldn't reach.

Gregory Bashian, MD, Electro-physiologist, said: "Sharp shoot the gaps of certain places where his catheter can't get to from the outside of the heart but, uh, mine can from the inside."

The entire ablation procedure is done in about four hours without opening the chest.
Today, Michael's heart is back to a normal rhythm and he's back to spending hours in the gym.

Michael Link, "You can get old and sit around, or you can get old and exercise more."

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