More than 300 patients and families dealing with
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) learned about the condition, including the latest research and treatments at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/American Heart Association AF symposium on March 20.
Dr. Mark Josephson, chief of
cardiovascular medicine at the CardioVascular Institute (CVI) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), told a packed auditorium at the Newton Marriott that while many mysteries remain about the causes of the condition, there are ways it can be successfully managed.
"We are seeing more and more cases of Atrial Fibrillation-in fact, this is just the tip of the iceberg," said Dr. Josephson, a internationally renowned expert who has been called the father of clinical cardiac electrophysiology. "As baby boomers age, the numbers will continue to go up."
The symposium entitled "The Beat Goes On: Living With Atrial Fibrillation" drew AF patients from as far away as Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island. AF,
irregular heartbeat episodes stemming from faulty electrical signals to the heart, affects about 5% of people over the age of 60. It puts patients at greater risk of
In addition to Dr. Josephson, speakers included
Dr. Peter Zimetbaum, director of the
electrophysiology service at the CVI,
Dr. Robert Hagberg, a
Dr. Joe Kannam, chief of
cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham and Jean Donovan, a nurse practitioner at the CVI. It was hosted by former WCVB anchorwoman and current BIDMC spokesperson
"It makes you appreciate what AF is and options for reducing the major concern-stroke," said John Walsh of Falmouth who has AF. "It made me aware that while it can be serious, it doesn't have to be if you manage it."
"There couldn't have been a better panel," commented Bonnie Bonn of Sudbury, who was diagnosed with AF six years ago. "I knew a lot about AF but I learned so much more."
The panel told the crowd there are new procedures and medications for AF in development.
"It's important to see your doctor every year to learn what is new that might help," advised Dr. Josephson.
Posted March 2010