Norton Heart & Vascular Institute, serving Louisville and Southern Indiana, offers innovative and minimally invasive hybrid ablation, also known as convergent procedure, to help restore normal heart rhythm in atrial fibrillation patients.
If you have persistent atrial fibrillation (also called A-fib), or haven’t had success with one or more other treatments, our specialists may recommend hybrid ablation.
Atrial fibrillation and other irregular heartbeats increase your risk of a blood clot breaking loose and causing a stroke.
Hybrid ablation in Louisville is available only from the board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists at the Norton Heart & Vascular Institute.
On-demand A-fib Educational Workshop
Learn more about A-fib and advanced treatment options.
What Is Hybrid Ablation (Convergent Procedure)?
Cardiac ablation in general is the precise use of heat or cold to create tiny bits of scar tissue in or on the heart at the source of the A-fib to steady the heartbeat. Some patients may have a catheter ablation, which addresses just the inside of the heart, before a hybrid ablation is considered.
The hybrid ablation involves performing ablations on the inside of the heart and the outside of the heart in two separate procedures.
You’ll be treated by highly experienced electrophysiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons who collaborate toward the best possible outcome.
The first step is addressing the outside of the heart through an inch-long incision under the rib cage. With access to the outside of the heart, the surgeon inserts an instrument that delivers heat via radio frequency to the precise spot to interrupt the atrial fibrillation.
After several weeks, the second procedure will target any atrial fibrillation triggered inside the heart with a catheter ablation. An electrophysiologist inserts a catheter into a vein in the groin area and threads it up to the heart. There, a tiny instrument is used for another ablation to interrupt atrial fibrillation from the inside and restore a normal heart beat.
By completing an ablation from the inside and outside of the heart, our specialists increase the chances of restoring a normal sinus rhythm.
Hybrid Ablation Benefits
- Higher rates of success at reducing your atrial fibrillation symptoms
- Minimally invasive approach with incisions no larger than an inch
- Short hospital stays and recovery time for most patients
Who Is a Good Candidate for Hybrid Ablation?
You may be a good candidate for hybrid ablation if:
- You have paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation.
- Your atrial fibrillation has not responded, or isn’t expected to respond, to treatments such as medications or catheter ablation.
- Symptoms related to atrial fibrillation continue.
- Other health conditions are worsening as a result of atrial fibrillation.
Patients who have had open-chest surgeries are not eligible for the hybrid ablation procedure. Consult your physician to explore your treatment options.
What to Expect After Hybrid Ablation
- Some mild chest discomfort from inflammation caused by the first procedure is not uncommon. The side effects of general anesthesia are the source of most discomfort and should pass after three to four hours.
- After the first procedure, you will need to stay in the hospital for monitoring as your medication is adjusted. This usually takes two to three days.
- After the second procedure, patients typically spend only one night in the hospital.
- Most patients who are feeling well and don’t have strenuous jobs can go back to work in a few days. Those with physically demanding jobs may have to wait about two weeks.
- It may take several months after the second procedure for your heart to adjust to the ablation and for your heart rhythm to improve.
- You will have follow-up appointments with the surgery and electrophysiology team to evaluate your progress. Norton Telehealth may be an option for some of your follow-up appointments.