Learn how Dr. Katharine Harrington chooses a lesion set to help manage stroke risk in her atrial fibrillation patients who may also need heart valve surgery.
For the hearing impaired members of the AFibSurgeons.org community, we have provided a written transcript of Dr. Harrington's video below:
Dr. Katherine Harrington: For people who have concomitant AFib, the lesion set that I choose varies a lot depending on their AFib. If they just had one or two episodes of AFib, that may be what brought them to the attention of having their valvular heart disease. Then fixing the valve and then doing an isolated lesion set, maybe just a vein isolation and taking their appendage is probably enough, but if they're having chronic AFib, then probably they need a full Cox Maze.
I would say for a lot of my patients, the ablation is kind of just like the cherry on the top. There's not a lot of additional risk for it, so offering them an additional procedure that might reduce their stroke risk and get them off a blood thinner – most people are not particularly hesitant to have that done.
When you talk to people about the risk and benefits of surgery most of them fear stroke more than death. Especially older people will tell you it’s okay if I die but I really don’t want to have a stroke. So, doing the procedure, obliterating their appendage, getting them out of AFib with an ablation. Taking away that stroke risk is, I think, worth more to those patients than surviving.