Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Treatment

Desert Care Network offers an alternative to drug therapy for patients with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) and other heart rhythm disorders (Arrhythmia).

What is Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib or AF)

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia) in the United States, affecting more than 2.7 million people. AFib occurs when the heart’s electrical system has a problem that causes the heart to fibrillate, or beat very rapidly. When this occurs, the heart cannot pump blood properly throughout the body. In some cases, AFib can cause chest pain, palpitations, anxiety and shortness of breath–but some people may not feel any symptoms. Many of the episodes are silent, so these patients don’t know they have AFib.

The likelihood that someone will have AFib increases with age. Among the senior population, the percentage of people with AFib can be as high as 8 to 10 percent.

When to seek treatment

If you are feeling symptoms of a rapid or irregular heartbeat you should consult with a doctor to determine how serious an issue you may have. Many of those with AFib experience no symptoms at all, or the first symptom is often stroke.

Symptoms Include:

  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Lightheadedness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Catheter Ablation

In many cases, you may be a candidate for a more permanent treatment for AFib, called catheter ablation. In this treatment, you will see an electrophysiologist, a cardiologist who specializes in the electrical system of the heart. The electrophysiologist will determine the location of the heart cells that are causing the electrical problem. These problem cells are then deactivated through radiofrequency heat, allowing the electrical signals to move normally through the heart and a regular rhythm can be restored.

Watchman Implant Surgery

The Watchman is a new, minimally invasive procedure, addressing the risks of blood clots and strokes caused by AFib. This device is implanted in the heart, preventing blood clots from collecting in the heart’s left atrial appendage where 90% of blood clots form. This procedure reduces the risk of a stroke.

The Watchman is recommended for those with AFib who cannot tolerate blood thinners.

Know more about Watchman Implant Surgery


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I have catheter ablation done?

Desert Regional Medical Center is the only hospital in the Coachella Valley, Hi-Desert , and Inland Empire with Stereotaxis technology able to perform catheter ablation.

How do I know if I’m a candidate for catheter ablation or the Watchman?

First, consult with your primary care provider. They can refer you to an electrophysiologist, who will help you determine if you are a good candidate for catheter ablation or the Watchman.

When should I get catheter ablation or the Watchman?

First, consult with an electrophysiologist—a cardiologist who specializes in the electrical system of the heart. Seeing this specialist will help you determine if you are a good candidate.

When should I get catheter ablation or the Watchman?

The sooner the treatment, the better the success rate. The longer treatment is delayed, the more likely a stroke will occur.

What should I expect during my catheter ablation procedure at Desert Regional Medical Center?

Patients return to their normal lives quickly with Stereotaxis. Most require only a single night’s stay at Desert Regional Medical Center before returning to their normal lives. Patients may be asked to refrain from heavy lifting or vigorous activity for one week.

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