It is estimated that more than 12 million people in the United States will have Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib in 2030. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed heart conditions and is characterized by an irregular heartbeat or rhythm, known as arrhythmia.

If left untreated, this erratic heartbeat can disrupt blood flow and lead to serious life-threatening issues like stroke or heart failure.

Some risk factors for AFib include, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, obesity, or other heart conditions, such as a leaky valve or blocked artery. Advanced age can also be a contributor to developing AFib, and because of this, women may be more susceptible to it than men as they tend to live longer lives.

Symptoms of AFib may include rapid or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, low blood pressure, and chest pain.

How is AFib treated?

For some people, medications may effectively treat AFib to help regulate the heartbeat or prevent clots from forming (such as blood thinners). If medications are not effective, there are several interventions to consider, including both catheter-based and surgical interventions.

One treatment that our team of board certified cardiothoracic surgeons offers to correct AFib is called the Convergent Procedure.

What is the Convergent Procedure?

The Convergent Procedure is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to  create ablations, or small lesions/burns, on the heart that effectively block the irregular electrical signals or heartbeat. Our cardiothoracic specialists perform this procedure in conjunction with an electrophysiology cardiologist.

Because this technique only requires a few punctures to the skin and use of a catheter to make the ablations, benefits of the Convergent Procedure as compared to open heart surgery include:

  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Minimal discomfort
  • Faster recovery time
  • Less risk for complication

Regarding the effectiveness of the Convergent Procedure, one study shows that 78% of patients who received this treatment were free from AFib (arrhythmia) symptoms 12 months out from surgery.

Our cardiothoracic specialists suggest that those who have chronic AFib and have not responded successfully to medications or other ablation procedures are the best candidates for the Convergent Procedure.

For questions about any of our vascular, cardiac, or thoracic services, please visit or call us at (512) 459-8753 to schedule an appointment.

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