PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is recovering from a procedure done to treat an irregular heartbeat. Kenney, who is 63, underwent what’s called an ablation to correct his heartbeat.
Officials say the procedure was successful. Kenney expects to return to work on Thursday.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Severe Storm, Flooding Threat Kicks Off Memorial Day Weekend
Doctors say the procedure the mayor had to treat an irregular heartbeat is minor and that he should be able to resume his regular schedule without any issues.
Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, happens when the heart’s electrical system is out of whack causing an irregular, often rapid, heartbeat.
“It is a condition that requires proper treatment and importantly to prevent stroke,” Dr. Helene Glassberg, a Penn Medicine cardiologist, said. “There’s 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 increasingly becoming a standard treatment.
“For the most part, the ablation procedure is more than 85% successful at eliminating the atrial fibrillation,” Glassberg said.READ MORE: South Jersey Elementary School Provides Walkthrough Of Security Measures In Wake Of Texas School Shooting
It’s routinely performed with general anesthesia. A catheter is usually threaded through the groin up into the heart. With the aid of computer technology, areas in the heart causing the problem are identified and specifically targeted.
“They either freeze or burn those areas out in order to block the abnormal signals and restore the normal heart rhythm,” Glassberg said. “It’s not affecting particularly the pumping chamber, it’s not causing a scar of the heart muscle that you need to pump your blood. It’s way up in the upper portion of the collecting chambers.”
Recovery is usually quick and easy.
Jim Woodard had AFib ablation and was back to his routine weeks later.
“Yesterday, I went for a bike ride, and, you know, felt great,” Woodard said, “and very, very happy and relieved to have had this done.”MORE NEWS: Robert Atkins Charged In 1991 Cold Case Murder Of Joy Hibbs In Bucks County
Like with any medical intervention, there are risks linked to heart ablations, but they’re uncommon. One potential complication, the procedure doesn’t work or needs to be repeated.