Atrial Fibrillation (AF or A-fib)

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute’s specialists are the leading providers of atrial fibrillation (A-fib) care in Louisville and Southern Indiana. They treat thousands of atrial fibrillation patients each year and complete almost 500 ablations, an advanced treatment for afib per year. Our Atrial Fibrillation Program features:

  • A team of board-certified and fellowship-trained electrophysiologists and advanced practice providers who have the technology to evaluate the potential causes of your A-fib and create a custom treatment plan
  • Full suite of treatment options including medication management, catheter ablation, surgical ablation, hybrid ablation (combined catheter and surgical ablation),  and left atrial appendage closure (Watchman and AtriaClip) to reduce the increased risk of a stroke that is common to A-fib
  • Specialty clinic exclusive to A-fib patients for new diagnosis and treatment, offering same-day appointments for newly diagnosed patients
  • A dedicated nurse educator to assist patients in understanding their condition and connecting them to resources as needed
The American College of Cardiology has recognized Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Hospital for their expertise and commitment to treating patients with atrial fibrillation, a common arrhythmia. The accreditation includes special recognition of the full suite of electrophysiology and surgical services we provide.

Personalized A-fib Treatment

Each person with A-fib is unique, just as the right treatment plan is unique to each person. Taking into consideration the type of A-fib and other health conditions you may be experiencing, our team will work with you and your primary care provider or cardiologist to create a treatment plan that is right for you.

Diagnosis and Monitoring

There are different types of A-fib, and correctly diagnosing which you have is the first step in developing the best treatment plan. A-fib can begin spontaneously, come and go (paroxysmal A-fib) or last for seven or more days without interruption (persistent A-fib), and many may not even know they are having irregular heart rhythm. Our team uses the latest in monitoring technology to detect and diagnose A-fib as quickly and as conveniently for you as possible.

All of our devices are monitored by our Heart Rhythm Center device monitoring unit.

Diagnostic and monitoring technology we use includes:

  • Echocardiogram — a test that provides pictures of the heart’s valves and chambers, typically performed at one of our diagnostic centers by a technician
  • In-lab electrocardiogram (EKG) — a test that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat at one of our diagnostic centers
  • Zio patch — small, adhesive, water-resistant, medical-grade monitor which can be worn for 14 days to record heart rhythms (EKG)
  • External monitor — battery-operated portable device that measures and records your heart’s activity continuously for 24 to 48 hours or longer depending on the type
  • Reveal LINQ — implantable loop recording device, about the size of a paper clip, that monitors heart rhythms for up to three years

A-fib Treatment Options

A diagnosis of atrial fibrillation often comes with a prescription for medication to prevent and treat blood clots that may be caused by the arrhythmia. Left untreated, blood clots can lead to a stroke. Additional medications may be prescribed to control heart rate and rhythm. For many patients, these can be the first and most helpful form of treatment.

READ MORE: Answers to common questions about atrial fibrillation medications

Medications can be an effective treatment, but they can have side effects, and there may be alternatives to control your condition more effectively. Often, a combination of medication therapy, monitoring and minimally invasive surgical intervention can help improve A-fib symptoms or even eliminate the arrhythmia. Decisions about A-fib treatment can be complex. Our team works with each person to develop a treatment plan and make sure you have all the answers you need every step of the way.

Treatment options for A-fib may include:

  • Medication management
  • Pacemaker
  • Implantable cardiac defibrillator
  • Catheter ablation — radiofrequency ablation (small burst of heat) and cryo-ablation (cold)
  • Surgical ablation procedures, such as “maze”
  • Hybrid ablation – a combined surgical and catheter ablation
  • Left atrial appendage closure — implant of the Watchman or AtriaClip device to reduce the risk of stroke

Cutting-edge Surgical Interventions

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Heart Rhythm Center electrophysiologists work closely with Norton Cardiothoracic Surgery to offer the latest in surgical correction for heart arrhythmias like A-fib. Norton Heart & Vascular Institute’s three board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiothoracic surgeons are experienced in advanced open-heart surgery, such as heart bypass and valve replacement, as well as in minimally invasive, robotic-assisted procedures on the heart, lungs and other organs in the chest.

The Norton Heart & Vascular Institute team is the only healthcare provider in Louisville to offer a hybrid ablation procedure, a minimally invasive surgical treatment which combines the best of electrophysiology and cardiac surgery treatments to help restore a normal heart rhythm for longtime arrhythmia sufferers, including patients with structural heart disease that has not responded to other treatment.

Heart and Vascular Care for the Whole Person

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers patient resources to support you and your family, including free classes for men and women of all ages seeking to improve cardiovascular health or living with a heart condition.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Our cardiac rehabilitation providers are leaders in developing and applying innovative techniques that can help you recover and resume your life.

Connecting Hearts Support Group

The group provides education and support to men and women after a heart attack, living with a heart condition or at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart Health Screenings

Prevention is the best way to manage heart disease, and screenings are available to detect early signs of cardiac and vascular disease and identify risk factors.

Classes and Events

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers classes about once a week on a broad range of heart health topics including cooking classes, atrial fibrillation (A-fib) and heart failure education workshops, and more.

About Norton Heart & Vascular Institute

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists treat more people for heart and vascular care — about 250,000 every year — than any other provider in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

  • Norton Healthcare’s four adult-service hospitals are American College of Cardiology accredited Cycle VI Chest Pain Centers — the highest level of expertise to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.
  • We have more than 45 board-certified cardiovascular physicians and 30 advanced practice providers. Through training and years of experience, they specialize in areas such as cardiologyinterventional cardiologycardiothoracic surgeryelectrophysiologyadvanced heart failure and vascular surgery.
  • We offer same-day new patient appointments.
  • We have 27 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 clinical sites in the region.
  • We have the experience, expertise and easy access you’d expect from the largest cardiovascular care provider in Kentucky.
  • Norton Healthcare is the only health care system in Kentucky to receive the prestigious Mission Lifeline: Regional Trailblazer Award from the American Heart Association for being an innovator in creating a system of care for ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attacks —  the most severe type of heart attack.
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