I must say that that’s what I was taught in medical school and throughout my training that yes, somebody, people who have afib need to be on blood thinners and then, as long as they are on blood thinners everything will be fine and that’s clearly not the case and I think we have some time to delve in that a little bit deeper.
The other common myth, which goes hand-in-hand with that, is that afib can’t be cured; that once you have afib you’re stuck with it for life and that’s also simply not true.
Well, let’s start with that one right there. Let’s say, how is afib corrected? Let’s say, a patient has it and comes to see a specialist like you, how do you take care of it?
Dr. Lishan Aklog:
Well, we take a very broad multidisciplinary approach with this. So when a patient comes to us, they come to not me as Dr. Aklog, heart surgeon, but to our atrial fibrillation clinic and we believe that’s important because for every patient there are variety of treatment options and it’s important that the treatment plan is tailored to their particular condition and that they have an opportunity to discuss all the options with the various specialists that would participate in that.
If you talk about the options for treatment there are really three main categories – the first category is medical treatment. So that’s treatment with a variety of different types of medication. The second category are catheter treatments where we are using a catheter from inside the heart that atrial fibrillation can be corrected, and the third broad category are surgical treatment – either minimally invasive surgery or more standard surgical treatments.
Dr. Aklog, is atrial fibrillation something that the patient is responsible for? Did they do something wrong or is it something that they were born with?
Dr. Lishan Aklog:
It’s actually neither. They certainly are not responsible for it, unlike many different types of heart condition.