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 AFib Center
The Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Center at Hartford Hospital is the first in the region to offer comprehensive evaluation and management services for patients suffering from AFib. 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?
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) 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 AFib 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 AFib.
Treatments & Procedures
The initial therapy for AFib is medication. The physicians at Hartford Hospital have extensive experience in the use of medications that are used to treat AFib. These range from drugs that control the heart rate to antiarrhythmic drugs that can suppress the AFib. 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 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.
In some patients, a surgical approach ("Maze" procedure) to control AFib is necessary. Typically, these patients have AFib 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.
In some cases, patients with AFib 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.
Hartford Hospital is at the cutting-edge of therapy for AFib. 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. 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.