Life and life expectancy have always been termed as unpredictable but thanks to science and rigorous perseverance of healthcare experts, lot of awareness has been created around it. We have recently seen how even young, fit celebrities succumbed to death due to heart problems. One such issue that demanded instant attention was Atrial Fibrillation: an irregular heart rhythm that affects the upper chambers of the heart. Eternal Hospital who have always been first in adoption of new technology and who have earlier because of their TAVR services have been able to help many patients, are also making a mark in treating AF. In this era of Modern technology, Eternal Hospital is paving towards the ultimate aim of bringing world class healthcare technologies in India and becomes one of the 1st in western India to introduce CryoTherapy.
Dr. Jitendra Singh Makkar Director & HOD Cardiology Eternal Hospital said, “Regular examination and checkups is a way to keep the situation in check. Causes of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) include reversible and chronic causes including one’s lifestyle choices. So it is important to be aware and cautious to avoid AF.”
It is crucial that people must be aware about what Atrial Fibrillation actually is Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is an irregular heart rhythm that affects the upper chambers (atria) of the heart. This arrhythmia prevents blood from being pumped efficiently to the rest of the body.
Prevalence: AF is common: Current estimates reveal that more than 33 million individuals worldwide have AF. In the United States alone, it is estimated that between 3 and 5 million people have AF, and that by 2050 this number will exceed 8 million.
IHRS – AF Registry was conducted to capture epidemiological data type of AF. Clinical presentation and comorbidities and current treatment practices and 1-year follow-up. Dr. Kush Kumar Bhagat Associate Director – Electrophysiology Eternal Hospital after study concluded that AF Patients are younger and RHD is still the most frequent etiology. Almost two-third of the patients have persistent/permanent AF. At one year follow up, there is a significant mortality and morbidity in AF patients in India.
AF is an important arrhythmia for many reasons:
- AF increases risk of stroke by an average of 5-fold. AF-related strokes are more severe than those not related to AF.
- AF increases mortality and has been linked to an increased risk of sudden death.
- AF increases the risk of Heart Failure.
- Recent studies have linked AF with the development of dementia.
- Finally, AF causes a wide variety of symptoms, including fatigue and reduced exercise tolerance, and significantly impairs quality of life (QOL).
Symptoms of AF: When its symptomatic these are the manifestations:
- Irregular heartbeat which is rapid and fluttering in nature
- Fatigue, shortness of breath and weakness
- Chest discomfort or pain
High cholesterol, High blood pressure, Heart disease, Smoking, Excess weight, Caffeine, Alcohol abuse Lack of physical activity, Sleep apnea, Family history, Advancing age and Heart disorder
- Reduce AF symptoms and improve quality of life
- Prevent blood clots to decrease the risk of stroke
- Control the heart rate to allow the ventricles enough time to fill with blood
- Reset the heart rhythm to allow the atria and ventricles to work together more efficiently
What Treatment and why Now Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) and Cryoballoon Ablation are two modalities to treat AF.
There are several reasons your doctor may be recommending ablation:
Patients with AF have better results when treated with ablation earlier.
AF is a progressive disease and if left untreated will continue to get worse.
Some patients who receive ablation therapy have a lower rate of AF disease progression compared to treatment with medications alone.
Cryoballoon Ablation is the need of the hour due to following reasons:
Cryoballoon ablation is a safe and effective alternative after medication to control your AF. It’s a minimally invasive procedure, with a short recovery time, that may make a big difference in the way you feel.
Cryoballoon ablation has many benefits when compared to radiofrequency ablation:
Shorter procedures (typically 90 minutes)
Fewer patients needing repeat ablations
Fewer patients needing to be rehospitalized after ablation
The goal of the cryoballoon ablation procedure is to stop unwanted electrical signals in the pulmonary veins that cause the majority of irregular heart rhythms. This procedure is performed by an Electrophysiologist (EP) who specializes in the treatment of irregular heart rhythms.
It is an inflatable balloon that uses cold energy to remove heat from the tissue and disable unwanted electrical signals by creating a circle of scar tissue (also known as a lesion) around the pulmonary veins.
A very important concern is regarding the safety and experts say, Cryoballoon ablation is generally considered to be a safe and effective treatment for AF when medication isn’t sufficient. It is a minimally invasive procedure, meaning there is no need to open the chest or make large incisions. The most common problem is local irritation or bleeding at the site of the incision. The risk of more serious complications is small,
Effectiveness of ablation has been a recurring question and the team at EHCC answer the same saying, Cardiac ablation has been shown to effectively treat AF, improving symptoms and quality of life for many patients. Generally, after medication, the earlier your AF is treated with ablation, the more successful it may be. Of course, every patient’s experience is different. Sometimes after the procedure you will continue to have AF episodes and may need a repeat procedure. It’s also possible that you may need to continue with some type of medication.
When to opt for the procedure is important to know. Atrial fibrillation can be a serious medical condition that should be treated no matter what level of symptoms you experience. Without effective treatment, AF may lead to a stroke, heart failure, or other health complications. If your AF does not improve after the use of medication, speak to your doctor about whether or not an ablation is the next step for you.