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“Get in Rhythm” Atrial Fibrillation Symposium

From the Desk of Dr. Antonucci

Sept. 15, 2021

Shipley Cardiothoracic Center and the Healthy Life Center Coconut Point Invite You to Participate

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heartbeat, which can be either too fast or too slow. This condition affects 2.2 million Americans each year. It also increases the risk of stroke by four to six times for those with AFib than those without it.

It is vital for patients with AFib to be followed by a physician. Patients with AFib are often put on blood thinners to decrease the risk of stroke by preventing clots from forming inside the heart. These clots most commonly form in a part of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA), and if they break loose, the clot travels to the brain and causes a stroke. While blood thinners can help, they can increase bleeding complications in patients, and some patients can’t take blood thinners.

Our experts at Shipley Cardiothoracic Center, which is located within HealthPark Medical Center, offer education, support and an alternative to blood thinners for the treatment of AFib, which is to place a special clip around the LAA, so clots cannot escape. Placement of this clip can be accomplished during open-heart procedures or using minimally invasive surgery. This surgical treatment of AFib using the LAA clip cuts the risk of stroke to less than 1%, and 94% of Shipley Cardiothoracic Center patients remain in normal cardiac rhythm at five years post-procedure. Additionally, patients never need any blood thinners with this procedure, which is especially helpful for patients who have had bleeding complications in the past. This technique is not performed in all cardiothoracic centers, so we feel very fortunate that our community has access to this leading-edge treatment.

In addition to offering leading-edge treatment, our Shipley Cardiothoracic Center experts are truly committed to education. This month they have partnered with the Lee Health Healthy Life Center Coconut Point to host a virtual symposium on Sept. 29-30 focusing on the following topics:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 29, 11 a.m.-noon – What to Know About Afib, presented by David Cervantes, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon
  • Wednesday, Sept. 29, noon-1 p.m. – Nutrition in the Kitchen: Heart Health, presented by Aikaterina Galeos, registered dietitian
  • Thursday, Sept. 30, 10 -11 a.m. – Get in Rhythm: Meds & More, presented by Tess Bernstein, pharmacist
  • Thursday, Sept. 30, 1-2 p.m. – Meditation & Yogic Breathing for Stress & Anxiety, led by Nicole Traum, yoga instructor
  • Thursday, Sept. 30, 3-4 p.m. – Surgical Treatment Options for AFib, presented by Paul DiGiorgi, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon

This symposium provides vital information to help those living with AFib live better, healthier lives. If you are interested in participating in these classes, RSVP individually to each session you plan to attend by going to www.LeeHealth.org/Events and searching by the title of the class. You can also call the Healthy Life Center at 239-468-0050 or email HealthyLifeCenter@LeeHealth.org.

While COVID-19 dominates the news cycle, we cannot lose sight of raising awareness and providing valuable information on other health conditions. Thank you to the Shipley Cardiothoracic Center and the Healthy Life Center Coconut Point for organizing such an important and information-rich symposium.