Atrial fibrillation, also known as AF, is an irregular heart rhythm that affects the upper chambers (atria) of the heart. In AF, the atria quiver instead of beating normally. AF can also lead to rapid heart rhythm, where the heart can beat as much as 300 times a minute or more in the atria and up to 150 times a minute or more in the lower chambers (ventricles).
There are three main types of AF:
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Catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) is a technique employed to control heart rhythms that are caused by abnormal electrical signals traveling from the pulmonary veins to the atria. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that can be used when medication fails to control AF. During the procedure, catheters are used to terminate (ablate) these abnormal electrical signals and stop them from spreading and continuing to cause AF.
The catheters have electrodes that can sense intracardiac electrical signals when connected to the electrophysiology lab system. The resulting electrograms are used to determine the optimal placement of the ablation catheter. The ablation catheter delivers energy to create a discrete lesion of myocardial scar tissue which terminates the abnormal electrical signals.
Medtronic offers ablation catheters that use cryothermal energy to create lesions via the rapid removal of heat from cardiac cells.
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Prystowsky E, et al. Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the Subcommittee on Electrocardiography and Electrophysiology, American Heart Association. Circulation. 1996; 93(6):1262-1277.
Medtronic internal estimates taking into account of clinical and economic exclusion.