AFib Center

The Bon Secours Upstate Cardiology Atrial Fibrillation & Arrhythmia Center is one of the few cardiac facilities in the southeast dedicated to the study and treatment of atrial fibrillation.

Dr. Sellers and Dr. Senfield are Upstate Cardiology’s electrophysiologists.  They are specially trained in the field of electrophysiology which is the area of cardiology that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders.

Patients at the Bon Secours Upstate Cardiology Atrial Fibrillation & Arrhythmia Center will first be evaluated by a cardiologist. Based upon the findings, Upstate Cardiology will then work to develop a personalized treatment plan for each patient.




"I have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and am ready to learn more about it"


What is AFib?


Atrial Fibrillation or AFib, is a condition affecting 3.78 million people in the United States, that causes the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) to beat rapidly and in an uncontrolled manner (fibrillation).


This uncoordinated, rapid beating of the atria affects the flow of blood through the heart, causing an irregular heartbeat and sometimes a sensation of fluttering in the chest.


 What causes AFib?


Although AFib can be caused by a number of different factors, sometimes there is no obvious cause for the condition. Some factors that can initiate AFib include:


  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Physical stress
  • Heart surgery
  • Lung disease
  • Medications that stimulate the heart
  • Various heart problems
  • Hyperthyroidism


People with risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, are also at increased risk.


 What are symptoms of AFib? 


The most common symptoms experienced during an AFib episode include:


  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid Pulse
  • Fainting
  • Weakness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness/light-headedness
  • Chest pain


There are instances where atrial fibrillation may cause minor symptoms if none at all


AFib Facts


What are the types of AFib?


The American Heart Association classifies AFib based on how frequently your episodes occur and how quickly they terminate. AFib is a progressive disease that becomes more difficult to treat over time. Your episodes are likely to increase in frequency or intensity as you age, so early intervention is key.


Episodic (Paroxysmall) atrial fibrillation A recurrent form of AFib (Two or more episodes), characterized by short, intermittent episodes that stop spontaneously within seven days. Often the heartbeat “converts” spontaneously back to normal rhythm within a few seconds or after a few hours. *


Persistent atrial fibrillationAFib that lasts more than seven days. This is a progressed stage of AFib with episodes of rapid beating that do not spontaneoulously return back to normal rhythm and that extend for longer periods.


Longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation Continuous atrial fibrillation of greater than one-year duration. The heart is always in atrial fibrillation, and the condition is considered permanent.  


AFib Treatment Options


Manage the Risk of AF


Anticoagulant Medication


 Anticoagulant medications (blood thinners) are prescribed to AFib patients to prevent blood clotting and reduce your risk of stroke. They work to prevent blood clots from forming and traveling to your brain. Studies have shown that certain anticoagulants can lower your risk of Afib related stroke 




Manage the Symptoms of AF


Rate Control Medication


 Rate control medication is used to slow your heart rate to less than 100 beats per minute. For a lot of patients this is an initial step to help them function and feel better with Atrial Fibrillation.




Anti-Arrhythmic Medication


 When rate control medication alone does not work to control your arrhythmia, then an anti-arrhythmic (rhythm control) medication may be used to try to restore your heart's normal rhythm. Rhythm control medication is also referred to as "drug cardioversion" or "chemical cardioversion."  




Treatment of AF


Catheter Ablation*


Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed by an EP who uses a thin catheter to determine or map where the abnormal electrical signals that trigger


AFib are originating in your heart. guided by this map, the electrophysiologist places a catheter into your heart to pinpoint the source of the abnormal electrical signals.  


Latest Advances


Contact Force Technology


Innovations in contact force technology enables physscians to measure and control the force they apply to your heart wall during a catheter ablation. Using contact force technology, your electrophysiologst can be more effective targeting and treating the source of your Paroxysmal AFib. A measured increase in effectiveness is the biggest benefit of contact force therapy.


Because your EP is able to measure the amount of borce being applied, a durable scar, also known as a lesion, can be created during catheter ablation. Lesions work to isolate and prevent the abnormal electrical signals that trigger your AFib episodes.


Creating a complete, durable lesion is the cornerstone of a successful catheter ablation. The more effective and consistent the lesion, the less likely you are to have future AFib episodes or require repeat treatment.


Next Steps


Talk to your doctor


Now that  you know more about AFib, its symptoms and its treatments, make time to talk with your doctor about your concerns.


Get support


Remember that you are not in this alone. In addition to the support network created by friends and family, your physician will be able to recommend support groups or counseling in your area.


Learn more


If you would like to learn more about AFib or radiofrequency catheter ablation, visit - a website dedicated to helping AFib patients and their families learn more about this common heart rhythm disorder. Here you will also find a variety of patient stories form real people just like you as well as questions to ask your doctor.


Find an Electrophysiologist


Your doctor should be able to refer you to a trusted EP in your area for consultation. You can also search online for EPs who are familiar with contact force therapy for AFib. When you call to make an appointment, ask if the EP uses THERMOCOOL SMARTTOUCH SF Catheters.