Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a widespread heart rhythm disorder affecting millions globally. It happens when the heart’s upper chambers (atria) beat chaotically and quickly, causing symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue. The most critical consequence of AF is stroke.

Catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation is a minimally invasive treatment that offers the possibility of eliminating—or significantly improving—symptoms of AFib by eliminating the triggers that start the arrhythmia. During this procedure a slim, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a vein in the groin and guided to the heart. The catheter then applies energy (heat) to the target areas, forming scars that block the abnormal electrical signals from entering the heart and triggering AFib. Catheter ablation can significantly alleviate AFib symptoms, reduce reliance on chronic medication, and improve quality of life. Clinical studies show that catheter ablation of AFib is more effective than medication treatment at eliminating the arrhythmia and improving quality of life. AFib ablation is the most rapidly growing activity in the field of cardiac electrophysiology today.

Dr. Chow is an expert at catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation. He uses advanced 3D mapping technology to literally draw the electrical conduction through the heart, helping to identify areas to target for ablation in order to eliminate the AFib. Ablation is being chosen by more and more patients as the treatment of choice for their AFib. Schedule an appointment to discuss treatment options for your atrial fibrillation.

ILR Implant

Regardless of the treatment strategy selected for AFib, follow-up monitoring for recurrence is a key part of the process. An important new weapon in the battle against AFib is the implantable loop recorder (ILR). An ILR is a small, thin device that continuously monitors your heart rhythm, and periodically sends that information to your doctor. It’s implanted just under the skin in the chest area through a very minor procedure that can be done in the office and takes just a few minutes. The main purpose of an ILR is to constantly monitor your rhythm, and detect any arrhythmias—regardless of whether or not the patient is even aware of them. The ability to detect asymptomatic arrhythmia is a revolutionary step forward, since research shows that even patients with symptomatic AFib will at times also experience asymptomatic episodes. With the safety of ILR monitoring, ALL AFib can be reliably detected. The battery life of a typical ILR device ranges from 2 to 5 years, after which the device is removed.

Once the ILR is implanted, you can go about your daily activities without any significant restrictions. If you experience symptoms, you can have the assurance of knowing that any heart arrhythmia was captured by the ILR, and can be reviewed together with your doctor.


Many patients with Afib require anticoagulation—powerful blood thinners that help prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke. Newer blood thinners have a therapeutic and safety profile that allows them to be administered without need for monitoring of drug levels—a major advantage. However these medications are expensive, and not all insurance plans will cover them. For some patients financial and insurance issues will direct them to warfarin (Coumadin) instead. However, warfarin does require careful monitoring of the PT/INR—measurements of blood thinness. This is done by blood testing every 4-6 weeks.

Monitoring of the PT/INR can be cumbersome—patients typically have their blood drawn at a hospital or private lab, and have the results sent to their doctor, who then reviews the data and needs to communicate back with the patient. This cycle repeats every 4-6 weeks. Clearly there are many points in the process where missed cues or dropped balls can lead to delay in action. For this reason we run our own anticoagulation clinic in which patients come into the office, have their blood checked (by fingerstick), and then we immediately advise the patient about their results and any changes in warfarin dosing required. This dramatically improves efficiency, patient convenience, and eliminates the opportunities for mistakes.

SVT Ablation

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is another common heart rhythm problem that can be completely cured through catheter ablation. SVT involves a “short circuit” in the heart’s normal rhythm due to abnormal electrical fibers within the heart muscle. People with SVT experience sudden, rapid heartbeats at inappropriate times, for no apparent reason. These arrhythmias start and stop suddenly and unpredictably.

Catheter ablation is proven to be an effective treatment for SVT. It is the only method to eliminate the abnormal conducting fibers which are the underlying cause of the problem. The technique of catheter ablation has been practiced by electrophysiologists now for decades, and is therefore a mature and well developed treatment with an excellent safety profile and >90% effectiveness. It is an outpatient procedure that takes a few hours, does not require an overnight hospital stay, and is done through a minimally invasive procedure as described above. Dr Chow is an electrophysiologist with expertise in catheter ablation of SVT.
Ready to prioritize your heart health? Schedule an appointment with us today, and take the first step towards comprehensive, personalized cardiac care…..because your heart matters.