Atrial Fibrillation Center
Atrial fibrillation (or AFIB) is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm (or arrhythmia) in the United States. Afib alone is not life threatening. But it can be extremely bothersome and sometimes dangerous, and it’s associated with an increased risk of stroke. We have one of the largest Atrial Fibrillation practice in Phoenix. Our team of leading electrophysiologists, advanced practice nurses, technical staff, and other professionals allow us to tailor our therapy to each patient to reduce risks of stroke, eliminate symptoms, and improve overall quality of life.
Your Heart Afib Team
Treating afib symptoms is complex. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. That’s why your care at our Atrial Fibrillation Center is tailored to your unique symptoms, afib heart rate, stroke risk, heart function and other conditions. Everyone on your team — electrophysiologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses and research coordinators — specializes in the treatment of afib.
AZHRC and its affiliated hospitals are well equipped for state-of-the-art clinical, and translational research efforts. Research into the mechanisms underlying atrial fibrillation (AF) and new treatments for AF is being conducted at each of these levels. Studies typically involve clinicians, surgeons, and scientists, interacting on a frequent basis.
For more information about the Center for Atrial Fibrillation basic research efforts contact Nikki Wheeler at AzHRC.
Individualized Care for Atrial Fibrillation
The ARIZONA HEART RHYTHM CENTER is among the world’s leading diagnostic and treatment center for patients with all types of heart rhythm conditions, including atrial fibrillation. Our Atrial Fibrillation Program provides highly individualized care for patients with this disease.
Delivering individualized care means recognizing that each patient’s situation is unique. Our model of care emphasizes working closely with you, your referring physician and a team of atrial fibrillation specialists at AzHRC to develop a customized treatment plan that decreases your stroke risk and reduces or eliminates your symptoms.
Your treatment plan is based on factors such as:
- Severity of symptoms
- Type of atrial fibrillation
- The presence of associated heart disease in addition to atrial fibrillation
Each member of your care team specializes in treating atrial fibrillation and other cardiac arrhythmias. Care teams typically include specialists such as an electrophysiologist (a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm conditions), an echocardiographer and a cardiac anesthesiologist, as well as nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
A team approach combined with high-volume experience enhances our ability to:
- Determine the cause of your condition
- Develop a treatment plan that optimizes safety and effectiveness
- Decrease your stroke risk and reduce or eliminate symptoms
- Monitor your progress and response to treatment
What to Expect
At your first visit, you will meet with one of our doctors along with a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. The doctor will conduct a physical exam and review your medical history and laboratory tests.
If more diagnostic information is needed, additional testing may be advised. Our team includes cardiac radiologists who evaluate your heart by using advanced imaging technology capable of rendering the heart in remarkable detail.
Patient education is a cornerstone of our care model. During your first and subsequent visits, we will partner with you to ensure that you understand your condition and treatment options. We want to be sure you have the information you need to make educated decisions about your immediate and long-term care.
Treatments & Procedures
Our program is internationally recognized for the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation and other cardiac arrhythmias, and patients have access to the most advanced treatments.
- Anticoagulants for stroke prevention
- Medications for heart-rate control during atrial fibrillation
- Antiarrhythmic medications for prevention of atrial fibrillation
Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to restore the normal heart rhythm by inactivating the tissue that triggers and perpetuates atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias.
Our team of experts has made important contributions that have helped advance the field of catheter ablation using radiofrequency (heat) energy.
Types of catheter ablations:
- Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is a minimally invasive procedure in which a flexible catheter is inserted into the heart via a vein in the leg to electrically isolate the pulmonary veins from the rest of the heart. This procedure can eliminate or significantly reduce the severity and frequency of atrial fibrillation episodes in the majority of patients. Our practice is one of the first sites to offer investigational nMarQ catheter as a part of a research trial.
- AF rotor ablation using rhythm view system (Topera, Inc). Rotors are considered sustaining mechanism for persistent or permanent atrial fibrillation. Our practice has been in the forefront of rotor site ablation and was one of the first sites in the country to offer this ablation in the country.
- Atrial flutter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure where the physician targets the area in which the circuit for atrial flutter is located. By inactivating this tissue, the atrial flutter can be eliminated.
- AV node ablation is reserved for patients who have advanced heart disease in addition to having atrial fibrillation and/or atrial flutter. The AV node is ablated and a permanent pacemaker with or without a defibrillator is inserted. This procedure eliminates the arrhythmias and helps maintain a normal heart rate.
Our program also offers:
- LEFT ATRIAL APPENDAGE OCCLUSION DEVICES: The WATCHMAN device, a left atrial appendage closure device designed to replace blood-thinning medications such as warfarin to prevent strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation. Our physicians pioneered the use of this device. WATCHMAN is for investigational use only in the United States
- LARIAT suture ligation procedure of left atrial appendage
- The MAZE procedure, reserved for patients who have atrial fibrillation and need open heart surgery for a heart valve repair/replacement and/or a coronary artery bypass. This procedure is performed by cardiothoracic surgeons in close collaboration with the electrophysiologists