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Slow Down A Fast Beating Heart

Local expert Hosts Free Program Nov. 7 at Silver Cross Hospital 

Joliet, IL (October 16, 2011)— More than 2.6 million Americans suffer from Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib). By the year 2050, this number is expected to double. If this condition in left untreated, it  can lead to stroke or heart failure.

shroffWith atrial fibrillation, cells in the atria (upper chambers of the heart) send extra electrical signals to the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart). These extra signals make the atria beat very quickly and unevenly. As a result, the atria may beat so fast and unevenly that it may quiver instead of contracting fully for each heartbeat.

“If the atrium does not contract, it doesn’t move enough blood into the ventricles. Patients may have symptoms such as dizziness and weakness,” says Dr. Sunil Shroff, cardiac electrophysiologist at Silver Cross Hospital.  “Blood that isn’t kept moving can pool and form clots in the atria. These clots can move into other parts of the body and cause serious problems, such as a stroke.”

What causes this to occur?

Hypertension (high blood pressure) and valvular heart disease- especially mitral stenosis and mitral insufficiency- increase the risk of atrial fibrillation.  Many people (up to 50% of patients) get A-Fib after open-heart surgery.  In addition, heavy alcohol use or what is called binge drinking might trigger A-Fib.  Extreme emotional or physical stress such as severe infections, severe pain, and illegal drug use can trigger A-Fib as well. Some cases have been reported where caffeine (in coffee, tea, sodas) and chocolate (in large amounts) also trigger episodes of A-fib.

How can Atrial Fibrillation  be treated?
Many medications have a low success rate and are associated with multiple side-effects. Fortunately for local residents Silver Cross Hospital offers Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Therapy.  Cardiologists with specialized training in electrophysiology (Electrophysiologists) on staff at Silver Cross are at the forefront of treating patients with abnormal heart rhythms.  Treatment modalities include implantable cardiac defibrillators, and resynchronization therapy, as well as ablation for atrial fibrillation and other abnormal heart rhythms called supraventricular and ventricular tachycardia.

“During Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Therapy, we insert electrode heart catheters through the patient’s groin and advance them into the heart under X-ray guidance,” said Dr. Shroff. “Using a computer with a 3D mapping system, we then guide the ablation catheter to tissue surrounding the pulmonary veins within the left atrium, and to other areas that start and maintain abnormal heart rhythms.” Real time continuous imaging of the heart and catheters is achieved by placing an ultrasound probe into the heart for monitoring, and use of a 3D mapping system tells us where our catheters are in the heart at all times.  With this technology, advanced monitoring and catheter guidance leads to more effective lesions and fewer complications.  “We can literally visualize each individual’s specific anatomy from the inside, enabling accurate catheter navigation and precision ablation lesion delivery for treating a variety of complex cardiac arrhythmias,” said Dr. Shroff. “This is a major improvement in cardiac care.” 

Learn More
Join Dr. Sunil Shroff, cardiac electrophysiologist, as he discusses symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation. This free program, Slowing Down a Fast Beating Heart, will be held on Monday, November 7 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1200 Maple Rd., Joliet.  To register, call 1-888-660-HEAL or visit

About Dr. Sunil Shroff
Sunil Shroff, MD, is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology. Dr. Shroff is a graduate of the Honors Program in Medical Engineering at Northwestern University.  He earned his medical degree at Northwestern University in Chicago where he also completed his Residency in Internal Medicine.  He received his Cardiology Fellowship at University Hospitals of Cleveland Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He has also participated in research at Northwestern and Case Western Reserve University, and has presented findings at several of the major cardiology society meetings.  He has several publications in cardiovascular medicine journals.  Dr. Shroff is a three-time recipient of the Medical Resident Student Teaching Award and also for Research Fellowship.   He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology (FACC), and also a fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS).  His office is located with Heartland Cardiovascular Center, 1300 Copperfield Ave., Suite 3030, Joliet. To schedule an appointment, call (815) 300-1900.

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895.  Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last seven consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,900 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction is well underway to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital opening in Feb. 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox.  To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).


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