Gwinnett Medical Center debuts new procedure for atrial fibrillation patients

Gwinnett Medical Center’s Strickland Heart Center recently debuted a new, minimally-invasive procedure for chronic atrial fibrillation (afib) patients.

The treatment, called the Convergent procedure, is used to treat chronic afib patients after traditional therapies, such as medication or standard ablation, has failed.

Afib, a heart rhythm disorder, involves irregular quivering or rapid heart rhythm in the upper chambers of the heart, which increases the risk of blood clotting and pooling. More than 70 percent of people between the ages of 65 and 85 are living with afib, making the procedure an important one, said GMC cardiothoracic surgeon Richard Harvey.

“Many patients with severe afib have experienced less-than-optimal results with standard medical treatment,” Harvey said. “This hybrid procedure is a combination of the highest quality of care an electrophysiologist and cardiac surgeon can offer, simultaneously.”

According to GMC electrophysiologist Joshua Lovelock, the most impactful benefit of the procedure is improving patients’ quality of life.

“Improving the overall quality of life for our patients, after treatment, is our main priority,” Lovelock said. “This alternative solution provides relief for a significant amount of our most severe cases. The recovery time is shorter than traditional surgical treatments and patients typically only spend two nights in the hospital.”

The Strickland Heart Center offers board-certified electrophysiologists, state-of-the-art EP labs and the latest in advanced surgical technology. Comprehensive cardiovascular services include open-heart surgery, pacemaker implantation, ablation, and a full range of cardiac diagnostic and interventional services.

For more information about the procedure or the Strickland Heart Center, visit gmcheart.com.

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Isabel is a crime and health reporter for the Gwinnett Daily Post. She graduated from Emory University in 2016 with a B.A. in international studies. She is originally from the Boston area.