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Treatment for Chronic A-Fib

The Convergent Procedure

Physicians at Maine Medical Center are performing a new procedure for the treatment of chronic atrial fibrillation, also known as a-fib. Called the convergent procedure, it helps long-suffering patients who may have failed other forms of treatment.

The convergent procedure uses radiofrequency (focused heat) to produce lesions (scar tissue) on the heart to block abnormal electrical signals. The procedure is performed on the inside and outside of the heart for a comprehensive approach.

During the procedure, a cardiac surgeon and a heart rhythm doctor called an electro-physiologist or EP, work as a team. The surgeon creates a pattern of lesions on the outside surface of a beating heart through a small incision (1 inch) made in the patient’s abdomen, instead of through invasive chest incisions and/or ports, as in other surgical procedures. The EP then threads a catheter through the patient’s femoral artery in the groin to fill in any gaps in the pattern of lesions, and uses diagnostic techniques to confirm that all abnormal electrical signals have been blocked.

A patient undergoing the convergent procedure typically spends three to four days in the hospital. This is a big improvement over the traditional surgery, which requires hospital stays of nearly two weeks.

Ask your doctor if you might benefit from the convergent procedure. If so, ask for a referral to Maine Medical Center.

Contact: Jill Knutson, BSN, R.N., Electrophysiology Program Manager, (207) 662-3150

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