Atrial fibrillation is a condition that affects the rhythm and the rate of the heart. The number of patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation each year is increasing. There are two main types of irregular heartbeat in atrial fibrillation.
• The irregular heart rhythm can come and go without treatment, this is known as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
• If the irregular heart rhythm continues for more than 7 days, or requires treatment, it is known as persistent atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is often caused by an abnormality in the top of the heart where the heartbeat’s electrical activity arises. Atrial fibrillation is often treated with medications that slow the rate of the heartbeat in order to make the pumping of the heart more effective despite the irregular rhythm.
However, to treat the cause of the atrial fibrillation a procedure can be undertaken to treat the origin of the electrical activity known as the heartbeat’s conduction system. Cryoablation is one of the available treatments that can stop the abnormal rhythm by targeting the conduction system. Cryoablation involves the freezing of part of the heart in order to restore the normal rhythm. Cryoablation is performed by an interventional cardiologist who can access the vessels of the heart through a small cut in the groin.