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AdventHealth Orlando Offers New Program Utilizing Combined Approach to Treat Atrial Fibrillation

A 3D illustration of the heart and veins around the respiratory system

The AdventHealth Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute recently designed a new program, called the Comprehensive Atrial Fibrillation to help treat patients with long-standing Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) by combining a multidisciplinary approach and offering a minimally invasive procedure to improve, and potentially cure, the most common type of heart arrhythmia.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the success rate of this type of surgery is 60-80% globally.


This FDA-approved hybrid approach involves two procedures – a catheter-based ablation and FDA-approved minimally-invasive epicardial ablation. This surgical treatment involves using thoracoscopic cameras to make small incisions in order to perform a surgical ablation, which historically would involve an open-heart surgery procedure.

“Instead of opening your chest and going inside the heart to fix AFib, we can make the same type of lesions on the outside of the heart using cameras to guide us, without stopping it, and only make a 2-centimeter incision at the base of your chest,” said Dr. David Spurlock, a cardiothoracic surgeon at AdventHealth Orlando.

The program works by electrophysiologists (EP) referring patients to Spurlock for the first procedure on the heart. Then, four to eight weeks later, the patient goes back to the electrophysiologist for the second minimally invasive procedure called an endocardial ablation.

“In this procedure, we ablate the inside of the heart by simply accessing veins in the legs, and the benefit of this hybrid approach with the surgeon ablating the outside of the heart and the electrophysiologist ablating the inside of the heart is that it in a group of patients with longstanding atrial fibrillation it increases the chances of being able to maintain normal rhythm long term” said Dr. Mahmoud Altawil, an electrophysiologist at AdventHealth Orlando.

In addition, because Dr. Spurlock clips the left atrial appendage during his portion of the procedure many of these patients will be able to come off blood thinners at some point which is another added benefit.


To learn more about the new Comprehensive AFib program, click here.

For cardiologists and EPs at AdventHealth, this new program is currently available in Epic as “New Patient Consult with AFib.” All other physicians can contact AdventHealth Cardiovascular Surgery Orlando at Call407-425-1566 for more information or to discuss potential cases.

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