Overview and Facts about Atrial Fibrillation Surgery - Keyhole Procedure
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a heart condition that causes an abnormal heart rhythm. Electrical signals within the heart do not function correctly, triggering these irregular rhythms. People with AFib are at an increased risk of heart attack and strokes.
Medication can reduce your risk of life-threatening health problems, but they cannot cure Afib. If you are high risk for heart problems, your doctor may recommend cardiac surgery.
A keyhole procedure can permanently resolve AFib. This procedure interrupts the electrical activity that causes arrhythmia. Because keyhole procedures are minimally invasive, they are a safe option for many patients.
What to Expect
What to Expect during Atrial Fibrillation Surgery - Keyhole Procedure
If you need AFib surgery, you have many options. Your cardiologist can perform tests to decide which procedure is best for you. Each procedure has unique advantages. Keyhole procedures are less invasive than many other types of AFib surgery.
Minimally invasive procedures carry fewer risks than open surgery, but keyhole surgery isn't right for everyone. If you also need other procedures, like heart valve repair, open surgery may be your best option.
In a keyhole procedure, the surgery takes place within a hospital. First, your medical team administers anesthesia. This medication makes you sleep through the surgery. Your team may also put you on a respirator or insert a catheter into your bladder during this procedure.
Next, your surgeon makes small incisions in your chest and passes the surgical instruments through these incisions. Modern procedures often use video cameras or robotic surgery systems. Robotic systems let your surgeon work with added precision. Video cameras also help your surgeon avoid large incisions.
After your surgery is complete, your surgeon closes up the incisions. You can expect to stay in the hospital for two to four days. During this time, your medical team keeps you under close observation.
After discharge, you can finish your recovery at home. Most patients need to rest at home for a few weeks.
What are the Side Effects of Atrial Fibrillation Surgery - Keyhole Procedure?
After surgery, you may feel tired or achy. You may also have some itching around your incision site. These side effects usually disappear within two to three weeks.
Let your doctor know if you still feel unwell after this period. Some patients continue to experience an irregular heartbeat after surgery. In most cases, the arrhythmia resolves itself after one to three months.
Keyhole surgery is effective for about 90% of patients. But if your surgery isn't effective, you may need other treatments.
What are the Risks of Atrial Fibrillation Surgery - Keyhole Procedure?
All surgery carries some risks. Some keyhole procedure patients may experience:
Keep in mind that untreated AFib also carries significant health risks. If surgery is recommended, your doctor believes is confident the benefits outweigh the risks.
You can lower your risk of complications by following your doctor's instructions. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes before or after surgery. You may need to change your diet, stop smoking, or take medication. Following these instructions carefully can improve your prognosis.