The Heart Center at Parkridge Medical Center features a multidisciplinary team that was the first in Chattanooga to offer the Convergent Procedure as a treatment for persistent atrial fibrillation atrial fibrillation (AF).

AF causes irregular heartbeats, which patients often describe as a fluttering heart. If left untreated, AF can lead to heart attack and stroke. The Convergent Procedure is a minimally invasive, catheter-based approach to treating persistent AF.

How Does the Convergent Procedure Work?

The Convergent Procedure takes place in two stages. Patients begin in the Operating Room, where a cardiac surgeon makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a small scope that is used to ablate the back wall of the left atrium.

The second stage occurs in the Electrophysiology Lab. An electrophysiologist maps the heart’s electrical activity and identifies electrically active areas causing the abnormal heart rhythm. The electrophysiologist makes a small incision in the patient’s groin, inserts a catheter into the femoral vein and directs the catheter to the inside of the left atrium. The electrophysiologist then ablates the inside wall of the left atrium.

This collaborative treatment produces excellent results for cases of AF previously thought to be untreatable.

Why the Convergent Procedure?

Traditionally, electrophysiologists use epicardial ablation to treat AF. However, some forms of the condition persist after treatment because the cells responsible for initiating irregular heartbeats can be challenging to reach via an epicardial approach.

The Convergent Procedure can successfully treat long-standing, persistent AF, and is typically recommended after traditional epicardial ablation is not curative. Patients who have been told there is no other therapeutic option for their AF are perfect candidates for the Convergent Procedure.

Call (423) 622-6848 to schedule an assessment with a heart specialist to see if the Convergent Procedure is right for you.

What to Expect

Patients typically return home the day after the procedure and follow-up with the cardiac surgeon and electrophysiologist at regular intervals. During these follow-up visits, the doctor will decide whether continued use of antiarrhythmic medications is necessary.

While the Convergent Procedure is performed through minimally invasive approaches, it is a complex treatment and is recommended for persistent AF that recurs following traditional endocardial ablation.