Atrial Fibrillation Surgery


Atrial fibrillation (AF or A-fib) is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). It may cause no symptoms, but it is often associated with palpitations, fainting, chest pain or congestive heart failure. However, in some people atrial fibrillation is caused by otherwise idiopathic or benign conditions.

Patients who fail to see symptom improvement with medicine may elect to undergo a surgical procedure to reset the heart’s natural rhythm. The desired outcome of surgical intervention is to establish a steady heart rate of between 60 to 100 beats per minute.


  • Atrioventricular (AV) Node Ablation: Atrial fibrillation occurs when electrical impulses are sent from the atria to the ventricles. These portions of the heart which are causing the erratic heart rate travel along a pathway connecting the upper and lower chambers of the heart known as the AV node. By introducing radio-frequency energy through a thin tube called a catheter, the tissue is destroyed to prevent signal delivery. A pacemaker is used to establish natural heart rhythm.
  • Radio-Frequency Catheter Ablation: Radio-frequency energy targets portions of the heart sending erratic signals. A catheter enters the body near the groin and is directed up to the heart. The radio-frequency energy creates scarring to interrupt the misfiring signals. This procedure corrects the arrhythmia without needing further assistance from medication or a pacemaker.


As with any heart-related procedure, atrial fibrillation surgery is a significant operation which requires a hospital stay. In the cardiac care unit, you will be under constant monitoring to assess your vitals and help ensure a speedy recovery.

After returning home from the hospital, you will receive a set of guidelines which allow you to gradually return your normal routine. Following atrial fibrillation surgery, it’s important to protect your heart by leading a healthy lifestyle.

  • No smoking
  • Manage diabetes
  • Lower cholesterol

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  • Engage in moderate exercise
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight


Your Choice is Clear
Riverview Cardiac Surgery have been trusted by more than 10,000 patients to perform surgery for diseases of the lungs and heart. Call to schedule an appointment.