Heart arrhythmia care in Richmond

Receiving a diagnosis of a heart arrhythmia can be worrisome. When it comes to matters of the heart, experience counts.

Contact our heart hospital at (804) 483-3015 or feel free to email us with any questions you may have.

Also known as irregular heartbeats, heart arrhythmias occur when the electrical signals to the heart that coordinate heartbeats are not functioning correctly.

Chippenham Hospital is committed to providing the best care for heart arrhythmias, including specialized treatment for atrial fibrillation (a-fib). Our cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons are annually voted the best in Richmond among their peers and are devoted to advancing heart care in central Virginia.

As the first heart hospital in Virginia, Chippenham cares for more hearts, valves, veins and arteries than any other health system in central Virginia. For more than a decade, physicians and hospital teams have worked tirelessly to build the region’s premier cardiac care center, proving that experience matters when you’re dealing with the complex cardiovascular system.

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation, also called a-fib, is a type of heart arrhythmia that occurs when rapid, disorganized electrical signals cause the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) to contract at a fast and irregular pace, or fibrillate. This can lead to blood pooling in the atria and not passing smoothly to the heart’s two lower chambers (the ventricles), ultimately leading to a disruption in the heart’s normal electrical harmony.

A-fib is caused by a multitude of factors, some environmental, some behavioral and some genetic. It is often found in patients with atherosclerosis, angina, hypertension and lung problems. A-fib is also commonly associated with diseases and conditions, such as stroke and heart failure, and as a-fib becomes permanent in a patient, mortality rates increase.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation

Patients with a-fib typically experience symptoms, including:

  • Irregular or rapid pulse or heart beat
  • Racing feeling in the chest
  • Palpitations or a pounding feeling in the chest
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • Sweating
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Difficulty exercising

Our a-fib treatment options

At Chippenham, we provide innovative treatment solutions, such as the Convergent Maze procedure and WATCHMAN left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) implant.

Convergent Maze

Convergent (or Hybrid) Maze is named for the maze-like set of incisions made on the left and right atria. It is a multidisciplinary, minimally invasive endoscopic procedure that creates scar lines (lesions) on the epicardium (the outside of the heart) without compromising the pericardium (the membrane sac enclosing the heart and other major surrounding vessels).

The lesions work to divert the abnormal electrical impulses in the heart, which cause the arrhythmia, isolating them and allowing the heart to return to its normal beating pattern.

Left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) implant

The WATCHMAN implant is a non-valvular atrial fibrillation alternative that closes off the left atrial appendage to keep harmful blood clots from entering the bloodstream. This appendage is believed to be the primary source of stroke-causing blood clots for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

Patients with a-fib have a five times greater risk of stroke because it can cause blood to pool and form clots in an area of the heart known as the left atrial appendage. Patients experiencing this heart condition may need to take long-term Coumadin (Warfarin) to prevent stroke. The WATCHMAN left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) can enable you to discontinue Coumadin (Warfarin) and reduce your a-fib stroke risk comparably.

Implanting the WATCHMAN implant is a one-time procedure that usually takes about an hour. Following the procedure, patients typically need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours.

Patient stories

Patients who received exceptional heart arrhythmia care at Chippenham share their stories.

Thomas Ghent

Meet Thomas Ghent, a retired U.S. Army Veteran and Richmond-area ROTC high-school teacher who underwent a catheter ablation and was treated by Drs. David Gilligan and Graham Bundy of Chippenham. He is a believer that anything is possible with the right people.

Robert Satchell

Robert Satchell, a patient at Chippenham, praises staff for their knowledge and willingness to help patients as if they were family. Watch this video to learn more about his a-fib experience, and how it changed his life.

David Yager

Meet David Yager, who was experiencing atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. David then had the hybrid maze procedure followed by a catheter ablation at Chippenham Hospital. Today, David says he is feeling the best he’s ever felt.s.