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Make an Appointment

To make an appointment, or to speak with someone in the Atrial Fibrillation Center at Hartford Hospital, please call (860) 972-1506.

About the A-Fib Center

The Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) Center at Hartford Hospital is the first in the region to offer comprehensive evaluation and management services for patients suffering from A-Fib. The center brings together a multi-disciplinary team of cardiac care experts that is focused on collaborating to find the best treatment for each patient, whether that be therapy with medications or more advanced procedural options.

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

A-Fib is the most common abnormal heart rhythm, with approximately 3 millions Americans currently affected and millions more expected to develop the condition over the coming years. Patients with A-Fib are at increased risk for having a stroke and they can suffer from symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. The last decade has seen an explosion in the options available to help treat A-Fib.

Treatments & Procedures

Medications

The initial therapy for A-Fib is usually medication. The physicians at Hartford Hospital have extensive experience in the use of medications that are used to treat A-Fib. These range from drugs that control the heart rate to antiarrhythmic drugs that can suppress the A-Fib. Our experts can help patients and their doctors navigate the broad array of medical options. When medications fail to restore a normal heartbeat, there are a variety of procedures that help patients get their rhythm back.

Catheter Ablation

Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that can reduce symptoms and restore the heart’s normal rhythm in the majority of patients who don’t respond to medications. The ablation procedure is performed via small punctures in the leg veins. During the procedure the doctor can map out the heart’s electrical system and find and destroy problem areas, either with radiofrequency energy (heat) or cryo-therapy (cold). Hartford Hospital was the first hospital in the state to offer this procedure, and the team in the Electrophysiology Lab continues to do so with safety and efficacy.

Hartford Hospital Electrophysiologists (EPs) perform 200+ ablations annually, and they have extensive experience in the ablation of A-Fib.

Surgical Ablation

In some patients, a surgical approach ("Maze" procedure) to control A-Fib is necessary. Typically, these patients have A-Fib as a result of valvular heart disease or they also need bypass surgery for clogged coronary arteries. Some patients may not be candidates for catheter ablation because they are not expected to respond to the procedure. The surgeons at Hartford Hospital have expertise in both the traditional open-heart surgery and the minimally invasive Maze surgery (“Mini Maze”), which is a technique used to surgically treat atrial fibrillation, without the need to open the chest. It is performed using small incisions and special surgical tools, leading to shorter recovery time and lower risk of infection. These MAZE procedures are performed in conjunction with an electrophysiologist. Our surgeons are also expert at the removal or closure of the left atrial appendage (small lip of extra tissue on the left side of the heart where it is thought that many stroke-causing blood clots form), which might be necessary in some patients.

Pacemakers

In some cases, patients with A-Fib require implantation of a pacemaker in order to fully stabilize their heart’s rhythm. The doctors at Hartford Hospital are experts in the implantation, programming, and follow-up of pacemakers, as well as all other implanted cardiac rhythm devices.

    Beyond Advanced

    Hartford Hospital is at the cutting-edge of therapy for A-Fib. This extends from the electrophysiology lab, where we utilize the most advanced computerized mapping systems in order to minimize X-ray exposure, to the operating room, where the our surgeons have access to the latest advancements in surgical ablation.

    Hartford Hospital EPs recently became the first in Connecticut to utilize a the newly FDA-approved contact force sensing ablation catheter that enhances the physician’s ability to achieve the stable tissue contact that is required for safe and effective ablation lesion formation. In clinical studies this catheter has been shown to improve ablation outcomes in patients with paroxysmal A-Fib.

    Beyond our focus on caring for our patients today, we are dedicated to caring for the patients of tomorrow through active participation in research. In particular, Hartford Hospital is among a limited number of hospitals nationwide selected to participate in the NIH-sponsored CABANA study, which is the largest study to date of catheter ablation.

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    Make an Appointment

    To make an appointment, or to speak with someone in the Atrial Fibrillation Center at Hartford Hospital, please call (860) 972-1506.