At Ogden Regional Medical Center, our experienced cardiac specialists use advanced technologies to treat heart arrhythmia—otherwise known as an irregular heartbeat or atrial fibrillation (A-Fib). Our heart specialists are the first in Utah and among only a few nationwide to collaborate in order to help patients with persistent, long-standing atrial fibrillation. They combined their skills and experience to offer an innovative option for people with the most difficult to treat A-Fib.

Whether you have only experienced a few heart flutters, been recently diagnosed or have had A-Fib for years, the next step is to determine the best treatment option for you. Therefore, we encourage you to visit a physician who specializes in treating A-Fib.

Contact one of our heart arrhythmia specialists at (866) 887-3999 to find out about our options to restore your heart rhythm back to normal.

Utah’s most advanced arrhythmia treatments

Due to the storm of chaotic electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation, this complex heart condition can be difficult to treat.  That is why two pioneering heart specialists decided to combine their expertise and offer solutions to patients with the most difficult A-Fib cases. At Ogden Regional Medical Center Hospital, a cardiac surgeon and an electrophysiologist are among only three specialists in Utah to perform innovative treatments for patients with long-standing, persistent A-Fib.

Our heart specialists combine a surgical ablation and a catheter ablation–during one hospital stay. This advanced, collaborative approach effectively restores the heart’s normal rhythm, often when other treatments have failed. Additionally, our heart specialists must weigh the invasiveness of the treatment against its efficacy and select the best option for each individual. Whether patients undergo a hybrid or convergent ablation, the majority of them stop taking blood thinners and enjoy life without A-Fib after undergoing these advanced procedures.

Patients who have chronic, continuous or difficult-to-treat A-Fib and/or who have received previous unsuccessful treatments can benefit from these procedures. The benefits patients receive include:

  • Integrated patient care provided by A-Fib specialists with complimentary expertise
  • Faster and less invasive option; external and internal ablations performed sequentially during one general anesthesia session
  • Combined approach reduces overall procedure times

Hybrid ablation

This minimally invasive operation involves a surgical ablation and a catheter ablation performed over the course of a few days, requiring only one hospitalization. Ogden Regional Medical Center was the first in the state to pioneer this procedure in 2013.

A cardiovascular surgeon performs a series of ablations (small, controlled burns) on the outside of the heart through three to four small incisions on each side of the patient’s chest. The ablations block the storm of chaotic electrical signals related to A-fib, keeping them from disrupting the heart’s rhythm. The left atrial appendage is also removed to lower the patient’s stroke risk.

Three days later, the cardiac electrophysiologist utilizes heart-mapping technology to identify more offending electrical signals. He then applies catheter ablations to areas that could not be completed on the outside surface. This two-step process creates a scar that goes completely through the heart tissue, which more permanently blocks misfiring electrical signals.

Convergent ablation

Convergent ablation is for patients who cannot undergo hybrid ablation due to lung disease or other medical conditions. This procedure combines a surgical ablation of the back wall of the heart with internal ablation of the pulmonary veins using the most advanced heart mapping technologies available. The cardiovascular surgeon and the cardiac electrophysiologist work as a team during the same surgery to perform the ablations on a beating heart. Ogden Regional Medical Center was also the first in the state to pioneer this procedure in 2016.

The surgeon makes three small (0.5 to an inch) incisions in the abdomen under the rib cage and inserts an endoscope through the diaphragm that provides a clear view of the outside of the heart. The surgeon places a series of ablations (controlled burns) in specific locations on the outside surface of the heart by an endoscope and a surgical ablation tool. The cardiac electrophysiologist then threads a catheter through the femoral vein in the groin to the inside of the heart and fills in gaps with more burns in areas that the surgeon cannot reach on the outside surface.

Before the procedure is completed, additional tests are conducted to confirm that the abnormal signals have been eliminated and regular heart rhythm is restored.

Comprehensive treatments for irregular heartbeats

We can help restore your heart's normal rhythm, often without major surgery. Often, A-Fib patients undergo more than one of the following treatment options before the irregular heartbeat is resolved:

  • Drug therapy can control A-Fib symptoms, but long-term drug therapy often has undesirable side effects.
  • Cardioversion utilizes an electrical shock to restore a normal heart rhythm. An effective option for some people, it cannot control symptoms over time in others.
  • Ablation is a procedure in which an energy source, like heat, is guided to the inside of the heart using catheters. The heat is used to ablate or destroy the heart cells triggering irregular electrical impulses.
  • Mini-maze surgery redirects irregular electrical impulses on the outside of the heart. This minimally invasive procedure requires only two small incisions on each side of the chest. It is one of the newest A-Fib treatments, but has already proven to permanently restore a normal heart rhythm in many cases.
  • Cox-maze surgery has been performed for more than 10 years with excellent results. While the patient's heart is stopped, tiny incisions are made to create scar tissue that redirects irregular electrical impulses. A heart-lung machine is used during this open-heart surgery.
If you would like to make an appointment to see one of our A-Fib specialists about these treatment options, please call (855) 413-7829.