Study compares surgery to medication in some patients with AFib

MIAMI – A recent study found that surgery may be more effective than medication in treating atrial fibrillation, or AFib, which is a cardiovascular condition that causes an irregular and often rapid heartbeat.

Dr. Allan Stewart, a cardiologist with HCA Florida Mercy Hospital said the randomized clinical trial investigated the use of cryoballoon ablation, a type of catheter ablation, verses antiarrhythmic drugs.

“The study found that patients who have atrial fibrillation on occasion, which is called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, first line ablation will keep people out of AFib much long than the medicines that are used. In the past, medications were the first line of treatment, and this study suggests that instead, ablation should be the first line of treatment,” Stewart said.

Episodes of atrial fibrillation tend to increase in duration and frequency over time and disease progression is associated with an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events Stewart said.

And the first year of the pandemic was deadly for people with heart-related issues according to the American Heart Association.

The AHA found that nearly 930,000 people died from heart-related issues in 2020.

That was up by more than 50,000 from 2019.

The National Institutes of Health reports that COVID had both direct and indirect impacts on cardiovascular health.

The agency said Covid was associated with inflammation and people with existing conditions were less likely to seek care.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

About the Authors:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.