PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is recovering from a procedure to treat an irregular heartbeat. Kenny, who is 63, underwent ablation to fix his heart palpitations.
Officials say the process was successful. Kenny is expected to return to work on Thursday.
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Doctors say the procedure to treat Mayor’s irregular heartbeat is minor and he should be able to resume his regular schedule without any problems.
Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions, causing an irregular often rapid heartbeat.
Helen Glassberg, a Penn Medicine cardiologist, said, “This is a condition that requires appropriate treatment and, importantly, stroke prevention.” “There are lots of causes of atrial fibrillation, and it’s actually quite common and increases with age.”
Glassberg says AFib can be treated with medications, but ablation, a new high-tech procedure, is rapidly becoming a standard treatment.
“For the most part, the ablation procedure has been more than 85% successful in eliminating atrial fibrillation,” Glassberg said.
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It is routinely performed with general anesthesia. A catheter is usually threaded through the groin into the heart. With the help of computer technology, problematic areas in the heart are identified and targeted specifically.
“They either freeze or burn those areas to block abnormal signals and restore a normal heart rhythm,” Glassberg said. “It’s not specifically affecting the pumping chamber, it’s not causing the scarring of the heart muscle that you need to pump your blood. It’s in the upper part of the collecting chambers.”
Recovery is usually quick and easy.
Jim Woodard had isolated AFib and was back in his routine weeks later.
“Yesterday, I went for a bike ride, and, you know, felt great,” Woodard said, “and was very, very happy and relieved to do so.”
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Like any medical intervention, there are risks associated with heart detachment, but they are uncommon. A possible complication, is the procedure doesn’t work or needs to be repeated.