The Center for Atrial Fibrillation is the first center of its kind in western Pennsylvania established to further the study and treatment of atrial fibrillation and to educate patients and their families about the condition.
As part of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, we're a group of cardiologists, surgeons, and nurses committed to both excellence in patient care and leadership in patient education.
Read Dr. Samir Saba's editorial on Left Atrial Appendage Closure in the Journal of the American Heart Association here.
The heart is a pump. Like any pump, it requires a timer. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) happens when the timer inefficiently beats faster.
This defect of heart timing, or rhythm, may cause symptoms such as:
Atrial fibrillation is a complex disease often missed in routine exams. Many times, a diagnosis uncovers other heart–related problems.
Although it usually isn't a direct cause of death, atrial fibrillation should be taken seriously. It may cause serious life-altering illness, such as stroke.
At the UPMC Center for Atrial Fibrillation, we believe that early detection and treatment of atrial fibrillation lead to better results.
In addition to diagnosing atrial fibrillation, we:
Every one of us is dedicated to applying the latest atrial fibrillation research and knowledge to provide the safest, most effective options in patient care. It is with this knowledge that we discover atrial fibrillation causes and consequences, and develop treatment options.
Our main goals at the Center are to:
Learn more about what you can expect before, during, and after your visit with the UPMC Center for Atrial Fibrillation, a part of our Heart and Vascular Institute.
To prepare for your visit at the UPMC Center for Atrial Fibrillation you will be asked to provide:
All information should be sent within the same package to your home.
At the UPMC Center for Atrial Fibrillation we look to educate and advocate the “big picture” — that is, how to restore and protect good quality of life for people with atrial fibrillation.
Through screening, we hope to reach as many people with atrial fibrillation as possible so we can reduce their risk for stroke and other cardiovascular events.
Our Center works closely with:
By raising public and professional awareness of this condition, we may be able to encourage earlier intervention and avoid the potentially debilitating consequences of atrial fibrillation.
Our multidisciplinary team at the UPMC Center for Atrial Fibrillation are experts in cardiology and cardiac surgery, and here to provide you the best care and treatment for your particular condition.
They’re interested not only in advancing the world's knowledge about atrial fibrillation, but in applying their expertise to helping people live healthier lives and receiving the best treatment.
Our doctors are available for consultation. A visit to our center is best for patients who:
The Watchman device offers an alternative way to lower the risk of stroke in some people with atrial fibrillation (AFib).
AFib causes blood to pool in the left atrial appendage, which may result in the formation of a blood clot. If the blood clot moves to the brain, it can lead to stroke. Every person’s stroke risk is different, based on their age, gender, and medical conditions.
Many people with AFib take blood thinner medicines like warfarin (or Coumadin®) to lower their stroke risk, but blood thinners are not safe for everyone. The Watchman offers an alternative to warfarin and other blood thinner medications.
The Watchman heart device is a parachute-shaped, implanted device that closes off the left atrial appendage, the area of the heart most commonly linked to clot formation that could lead to stroke in people with atrial fibrillation. Studies have shown that once the device is successfully placed, the Watchman offers as much protection against stroke as blood thinners.
Some people, including those with AFib not caused by heart valve disease, who have an increased risk of stroke and who cannot safely take blood thinners, may be candidates for the Watchman device.
During a Watchman procedure, your doctor:
The procedure typically takes a little more than an hour to perform. Over time, scar tissue forms around the device, permanently closing off the left atrial appendage.
The Watchman device is implanted during a minimally invasive procedure and can provide an alternative for lowering the risk of stroke in some people with AFib who cannot safely take blood thinner medicines.
The Watchman device is implanted during a minimally invasive procedure that involves anesthesia.
Placement of the device may have serious adverse effects, including risks of:
UPMC is one of a select group of hospitals in the United States—and the only hospital in western Pennsylvania—to treat people with AFib using the recently FDA-approved Watchman device.
Our Watchman expert:
To make an appointment with an atrial fibrillation specialist at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, complete an appointment request form, call 1-844-HVI-AFIB (484-2342), or send an email to CenterforAFib@upmc.edu.
Watchman™ is a trademark of Boston Scientific
We welcome your questions and comments and hope to help in any way that we can.
To make an appointment:
To refer a patient, call UPMC's 24-hour physician referral service at: 1-866-884-8579
UPMC Center for Atrial Fibrillation
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2582