What Are The Risks For Atrial Fibrillation Surgery?
Atrial fibrillation or A – Fib is an infection that causes abnormal heartbeat rhythms. As a result of this, the heart beating is not normal. Due to this abnormal heart beat, arrhythmia’s (Fast or Slow heartbeat) may develop. The most affected part of the heart is the atria (Upper chambers of the heart). In a normal cardiac cycle, the atria and the ventricles contract and relax resulting in a normal pulse whereas when affected by this, the atria muscles twitch in an irregular manner which causes a loss of co-ordination with ventricles of the heart (the lower chambers of heart) and resulting in an abnormal pulse and heartbeat. This condition can also cause clotting of blood in the atria of the heart. In case this blood clot gets in way to the bloodstream of the brain, it can easily cause a stroke. Due to the abnormal impulses, it can lead to heart failure. It is mostly experienced as vibrations in the atria chambers that can even damage the heart tissues.
Commonly this disease is the result of either a defect in the heart valves (Valvular disease) or due to high blood pressure in patients (Hypertension).
The infection is also caused by a number of factors which may include:
- Heart infections or other Cardiovascular diseases
- Overweight (Obesity)
- Diabetes Mellitus (chronic)
- Underlying infections such as thyroid diseases such as Thyrotoxicosis
- Ailments in the Lungs as Asthma, Blood clots
- Excess intake of alcohol or Alcohol abuse
- High intake of caffeine
- Excess intake of nicotine
- Family history of heart disorder or even A – Fib
- Sleeping Disorders (Apnea)
- Medications prescribed for chronic pain and other conditions
Patient suffering from this condition can experience some of the following symptoms:
- Causes pain in the chest
- Feeling dizzy
- Hard to breathe or Shortness of breath
- General tiredness or Fatigue
- Sometimes sweating
The factors which might increase the risk of developing this disease are – Coronary Artery disease, Atherosclerosis and Inherited (Innate) heart defects. A-fib is predominant in men and eventually progresses with age over 60, if unhealthy.
The primary diagnosis includes a routine ECG and a pulse check. After the preliminary evaluation the doctor may do an X-ray, Blood tests, TSH test, Echocardiogram and a range of other tests to achieve an in–depth diagnosis. Sometimes, there may be an underlying conditions or a Cardiomyopathy (group of heart muscle disease) which calls for a thorough analysis of the patient.
In treatment of atrial fibrillation, surgery has been one of the methods used. However, like any other treatment measures, there are a number of risks associated with each type of surgery that may be undertaken. The following are types of surgeries and their risks.
Ablation surgery is the technique used to remove scarred/damaged tissue which causes the arrhythmia in the heart. The kind of surgery needed is dependent upon the type of A-fib you are suffering from – Persistent or Paroxysmal.
There are a number of ablation surgeries that a patient may go through depending on the type of A-Fib one has. Ablation surgery is always a short procedure that takes around 2 hours in the hospital. In general procedures, a catheter is used.
A catheter is a very small tube that is made up of an electrode at its tip. This electrode passes radio waves through heat that helps in destroying defect tissues in the heart. It is driven through your neck or shoulder to the heart chamber.
Ablation surgery may also include freezing and removal of the scar tissue (Cryoablation) and the use of microwaves and sonar in the procedure.
Atrioventricular Node Ablation
It is the most common kind of ablation surgery used in treating A-Fib. The procedure is similar to the catheter ablation. However, this type is used in destroying a larger area in the heart chambers. This area is referred to as the atrioventricular node. The process requires fixing a pacemaker that can control rhythm after the surgery.
Risks to Consider Before Undertaking Ablation
- Bleeding-this can be very risky since it may cause other complications. As these tissues are being destroyed you may have bleeding in the heart tissues.
- Pain-Depending on the type of ablation you are having, experiencing pain is normal. This can be just a mild pain as the catheter is being driven into the tissues.
- Vein problems. Veins are very thin and sensitive vessels in the body. In case of any interference you may experience complications.
- Bruising along the neighboring tissue walls.
- Ablation may just not work for you or there might be a need for a second procedure (in several cases). Sometimes an ablated region may give rise to new arrhythmias.
Maze Surgery Procedure
This is a procedure that takes place on open-heart surgery. A doctor creates several incisions to alter the electrical signals in the heart and return to normal. Here, there is an overall formation of scar tissue and thus the electrical signals change trajectory to a normal path.
Risks for Maze Procedure
This procedure causes more risks as compared to other procedure. They may include:
- Kidney failure
- Other organ failure in case the heart function is altered
Despite of such risks the procedure if, performed by a highly – skilled surgeon boasts a greater success rate.
The Bottom Line
Atrial fibrillation is a rather dangerous and fatal infection especially when not treated in time. It causes fear and anxiety among most of its patients. Nevertheless, patients should take precautions before undertaking any surgery treatment.
You can consider other treatment options apart from surgery such as medications or therapies. Knowing each and every aspect of the disease and its available treatments would be of immense help.
Always visit a doctor before you make any decision towards treatment of the infection. Take a well – informed decision only after visiting and validating from legitimate sources like patients doctors and medical professionals.
The risks involved with Atrial Fibrillation Surgeries are many. A person needs to know and comprehend these and seek for guidance and advice from medical personnel.