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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A 59-year-old Brunswick retiree has had Atrial Fibrillation for the last 30 years of his life, but that is all about to change.

Atrial Fibrillation, often called Afib, is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm and the leading cause of stroke. At St. Vincent's Healthcare, doctors are using a procedure to treat Afib that is minimally invasive and reduces surgical radiation. It is called catheter ablation.

Dr. Anthony Magnano uses tiny catheters to go up the artery in the leg to reach the patient's heart. From there, he uses ultrasound mapping to create a 3D image of the heart. By using an ultrasound, it significantly reduces the amount of radiation a patient is exposed to.

"Less radiation translates into less risk of cancer for patients over time," explains Dr. Magnano a cardiac electrophysiologist.

In simple terms, to stop the electrical firings that put a heart into Atrial Fibrillation, Dr. Magnano creates a ring of scar tissue around the atria and conductive veins to act as a buffer, so the firings can't spread through the heart and cause it to suddenly beat rapidly.

"Many of these patients are able to come off of two or three different medicines they were using to control their arrhythmias," said Dr. Magnano.

The recovery time is also minimal. The 59-year-old patient should be up and back to normal within a week.

For Dr. Magnano, it is simply all about improving a patient's quality of life.

"At the end of the procedure, his rhythm looks good. At the beginning of the procedure, he was in incessant arrhythmia and now, it is very hard to provoke any abnormal rhythm," says Dr. Magnano.

The catheter ablation procedure has a 75 to 80 percent success rate.

For more information about it visit this website: www.myfastheartbeatjax.com

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