Inside Look: Surgical Tools that Reduce Stroke Risk from Atrial Fibrillation

During the Heart Valve Summit, I received many questions about heart valve disease and Atrial Fibrillation.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to edit and post those videos. In the meantime, I thought you might like to watch this video which talks about AFib and the ways it can be treated using surgical techniques.

Many thanks to the Atricure team for making me aware of this video. I hope you enjoy it!

Keep on tickin!

P.S. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript below.

Interviewer: Atrial Fibrillation or AFib is a serious cardiac condition that affects more than 33 million people worldwide. AtriCure is a medical device company working to reduce this global epidemic, providing innovative solutions including the first and only surgical device approved to treat AFib in the US. Michael Carrel is President and Chief Executive Officer of AtriCure and he joins us now. Michael, welcome. Please tell us what is AFib?

Michael: AFib is an irregular heartbeat that causes you to be very tired and has a five to six times greater impact on you having a stroke. It’s a terrible disease. It’s affecting about 33 million worldwide and about 10 million of those 33 million people are actually symptomatic, where they feel it every day. The others are undiagnosed patients today. It’s a very big market affecting a lot of people around the globe.

Interviewer: AtriCure has led the development of surgical treatments for AFib. What are some of the current surgical options?

Michael: What we do is we sell products on the surgical side. When a surgeon gets involved, it’s for the more complex forms of AFib. If they’ve had AFib for a longer period of time, they’ve got their incontinuous AFib and they can’t get out of AFib. Those tools that will be used are: one, RF ablation, or you’ll be using a cryoablation or freezing. Our tools come in many different forms. They will either come in clamps or they’ll come in pen-like technologies that will actually lay across the heart, as well.

In addition to that, we have a tool that is used to manage the left atrial appendage. Many believe that about 90% of the strokes related to AFib come from the left atrial appendage. The technology that we have is an epicardial technology that comes from the outside of the heart and acts almost as a tourniquet to take out that left atrial appendage.

Interviewer: Now physician training is a huge part of your mission. Tell us more about that.

Michael: Physician training is a huge part of our mission. We’re very committed to training physicians around the globe. Since we got our approval by the FDA back in 2011 to sell our products under what they call a PMA, we have been enabled to train surgeons throughout the globe on how to treat appropriately and why to treat atrial fibrillation.

Interviewer: Michael, thanks for speaking with us today. Learn more at

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

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