Surgeon Q&A: Should Atrial Fibrillation Get Treated During Heart Valve Surgery?

If you didn’t know… Many patients with heart valve disease have atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat. According to reports, up to 35% of patients with valvular defects are more likely to have AFib. For this reason, I really appreciated Anita’s question, “Adam – Can anyone having heart valve surgery be a candidate for corrective atrial fibrillation treatment?”

To answer this very important question, I tracked down Dr. Steve Bolling, a leading heart valve surgeon at the University of Michigan.  So you know, Dr. Bolling has successfully treated many patients in our community including Linda Comai, Jeff Adams and George Parish. 🙂

Here’s what Dr. Bolling shared with me.

Many thanks to Anita for her question. And, a special thanks to Dr. Steve Bolling for sharing his clinical expertise and research with our patient community.

Keep on tickin!

P.S. For the hearing impaired members of our community, please find below a written transcript of my interview with Dr. Bolling.

Adam: Hi everybody, it’s Adam. We’re back at the Heart Valve Summit and we’re answering your questions. I’m thrilled to be here with Dr. Steven Bolling from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Steven Bolling: Adam thanks for having me.

Adam:  Great to have you. We’re answering Anita’s question. She writes in, “Can anyone who is having mitral valve surgery and tricuspid valve surgery be a candidate for corrective atrial fibrillation?”

Dr. Steven Bolling: That’s a good question, Adam. Anita, here is the answer to your question. You’re there, you’re having mitral valve surgery, you’re having tricuspid valve fixed and you’ve had a history, somehow, of atrial fibrillation – either intermittently paroxysmal or chronic atrial fibrillation. Your surgeon should do something to fix that atrial fibrillation. I’m the surgeon – if I’m looking at the mitral valve, I should do something to fix that atrial fibrillation. There is, as you know, a very recent study of randomized prospective study looking just at that. If a surgeon is there inside the left atrium doing mitral valve surgery and Anita, or someone else, you have a history of atrial fibrillation we need to fix it. We need to take the left atrial appendage off and we need to do something for that atrial fibrillation. Your long-term rate of staying out atrial fibrillation is probably twice as high if we do something. I need to do something when I’m there.

Adam:  Dr. Bolling, as always, thanks so much for your help and care of the patients in our community.

Dr. Steven Bolling: Adam thanks for having me.

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

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

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