Repeat "zaps" often needed to stop atrial fibrillation

The common heart rhythm problem known as atrial fibrillation is characterized by rapid, erratic beating of the heart's upper chambers. It has traditionally been treated with drugs. A procedure called atrial ablation aims to restore a normal rhythm by destroying patches of heart tissue that generate errant "beat now" signals.

A doctor does this with small bursts of electricity delivered from inside the heart. There's no need for surgery — the tissue-zapping device is introduced into the heart from an artery in the groin, much like artery-opening angioplasty.

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