Atrial Fibrillation

Nebraska Medicine is the only program in Nebraska with a medical team dedicated to the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

By combing the expertise of electrophysiologists and cardiac surgeons, we offer highly successful procedures for treating atrial fibrillation.

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (afib) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. Afib is an irregular quivering of the upper chamber of the heart, and is due to dysfunction in the heart’s conduction system.

Some patients report erratic heartbeats, palpiations, a fluttering sensation, or feeling weak and breathless. For some people, afib stops on its own and for others it may continue for hours, days, weeks or even years.

Why is Afib a problem? Just how big of a problem is Afib?

Afib affects over five million people in the US alone. While afib itself is not life-threatening, it can cause serious problems like congestive heart failure, or stroke. Up to 15 percent of the heart’s ability to pump volume to the body is lost when the rhythm is atrial fibrillation. Stroke is not only the third most common cause of death in the US, it is the most common cause of permanent disability. Strokes associated with atrial fibrillation typically come from a location in the heart known as the left atrial appendage.

Patient Guides

Come to Nebraska Medicine to Manage Your Atrial Fibrillation Because:

We Get Results

After treatment, on average, you're less likely to have heart failure symptoms and suffer from fewer strokes caused by atrial fibrillation. You'll have an improved long-term survival outlook as well.

We'll Only Perform the Right Procedure for You

Catheter ablation and/or surgery for curing atrial fibrillation are not the best option for everyone. For many patients, the risks of surgery or of ablation is too high, and medications are the best options for therapy.

Care Doesn't Stop When You Leave

Our Heart Rhythm team sees patients throughout their lives if necessary, to assist with the long-term management of your care.

Catheter Ablation

This procedure is performed by a cardiologist who is specialty-trained in electrophysiology. A catheter is inserted through the groin and directed to the heart. Scar lines are then created internally, which decease the rate of atrial fibrillation. There is very little recovery time required with this procedure.

Maze Procedure

This is an open-heart surgery performed by a cardiothoracic surgeon. Energy sources are used to scar the tissues directly, and the left atrial appendage is closed to reduce the risk of stroke. The success rate is highest with the surgical Cox-Maze, but the recovery time is also longer.

Mini-Maze Procedure

This is a surgical ablation that does not require an open heart procedure. A cardiothoracic surgeon uses a television camera and small abdominal or chest incisions, to apply scars directly to the heart tissues. Nebraska Medicine's academic partner the University of Nebraska Medical Centeris the only program in the state or region with this technology. In the Convergent procedure, cardiac surgeons and electrophysiologists work hand-in-hand to bring the best of both the interventional and surgical techniques for atrial arrhythmias.

Minimally Invasive Convergent Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation

This leading edge technology blends cardiac surgery and electrophysiology techniques to provider a minimally invasive procedure and faster recovery time. A best of both worlds therapy for AFib.

Operating Room Suites with Advanced Diagnostic and Therapeutic Tools

  • Mapping programs in electrophysiology suite.
  • We use 3-D mapping software to guide ablation to improve outcomes and safety
  • Use of intra-cardiac ultrasound reduces overall radiation exposure to the patient during the case and negates the need for pre-procedure CT scan or MRI

WATCHMAN™ Procedure

This device is designed to lower your risk of stroke due to atrial fibrillation (afib) while at the same time allowing you to stop blood thinners. Learn more about how we perform the WATCHMAN™ procedure.