Convergent Procedure | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Hybrid Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Norton Healthcare Heart and Vascular Institute

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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