Atrial fibrillation is the most common rhythm disorder affecting man and has a prevalence of 1-6% in the general population and the incidence increases with advancing age. The disease reduces activity of individuals in the productive years and also presents a risk of stroke and mortality. It is now possible to control and even cure some forms of atrial fibrillation through a minimally invasive procedure called a Pulmonary Vein Isolation (PVI).
The rapidly advancing technology in electrophysiology may accomplish this procedure in under 3 hours with just conscious sedation (not full general anaesthetic) and can be done essential as a day procedure. The advances in the field have made the majority of electrophysiology procedures extremely cost effective with minimal patient down time. Patients can return to normal work capacity within days.
The pulmonary veins are accessed through a procedure called a transeptal puncture. Once the transceptal puncture is performed, catheters are inserted into the left atrium and a map of this chamber is made using computer software. This way accurate ablation burns can be done around the veins competely isolating them. This procedure is called a pulmonary vein isolation or PVI for short. The result is a 70% chance of leaving the patient free of atrial fibrillation!