What new treatments for atrial fibrillation (Afib) (AF) are being investigated?

Updated: Nov 18, 2019
  • Author: Lawrence Rosenthal, MD, PhD, FACC, FHRS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey N Rottman, MD  more...
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New developments aimed at curing AF are being explored actively. By reducing the critical mass required to sustain AF through either surgical or catheter-based compartmentalization of the atria (ie, maze procedure), fibrillatory wavelets collide with fixed anatomic obstacles, such as suture lines or complete lines of ablation, thus eliminating or reducing the development of permanent AF. One concern is that an extensive maze procedure can render the atrial severely hypocontractile, which may elevate the risk of embolic stroke even if AF is substantively suppressed. Some patients with focal origins of their AF also may be candidates for catheter ablation. Simple electric isolation of the origins of the pulmonary veins has proven roughly up to 80% successful in substantially reducing frequency and duration of AF in patients who do not tolerate AF well.

AF ablation methods continue to be studied and modified and thus may be considered as a work in progress rather than a mature primary therapy. Go to Catheter Ablation for complete information on this topic.

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