Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) and other Arrhythmias

Heart Rhythm Disorders

Duke's heart rhythm specialists use the latest medical advances to ensure you receive personalized treatment for arrhythmia, including atrial fibrillation (Afib) and ventricular tachycardia. With appointments available in Durham, Raleigh, Sanford, Lumberton, Burlington and Danville, VA, our experts in irregular heart rhythms, catheter ablation and implantable cardiac devices help you manage your symptoms and return your heart to a normal rhythm. We want to lower your risk for heart failure and stroke so you can lead a more active life.

At Duke, arrhythmias are treated with minimally invasive techniques and cutting-edge technology.

Advanced Arrhythmia Care

Our specially trained cardiac electrophysiologists treat nearly 1,700 arrhythmia patients each year -- among the highest number in the Southeast. We continually evaluate new treatment approaches, and have achieved some of the lowest complication rates associated with catheter ablation, a common treatment for atrial fibrillation (Afib) and ventricular tachycardia. Our research and expertise help set the standard for arrhythmia treatment nationwide. 

Choose a Duke heart clinic for your arrhythmia treatment because we offer:

  • Top-ranked care. U.S. News and World Report ranks Duke Heart Center among the best cardiology and heart surgery programs in the nation, based on our patients’ survival rates, the number of procedures we perform, and the quality of our support services.
  • Excellent outcomes the first time. We use sophisticated heart mapping techniques to identify which part of the heart to target for catheter ablation. Computer-guided treatments stabilize the catheter and more accurately guide its movement within the heart. As a result, the problem area is treated and the likelihood of repeat procedures is reduced. In fact, over the past two years, fewer than ten percent of our patients have needed a repeat ablation, a rate less than half the average.
  • Advanced techniques. Your catheter ablation procedure will be performed by electrophysiologists trained in the most advanced ablation techniques available, including mapping for spiral waves and focus beats, which can shorten procedure time.
  • Specialized procedures for less common arrhythmia. Duke is among a handful of centers with substantial expertise in epicardial catheter ablation, which treats ventricular tachycardia that occurs on the heart’s outer surface.
  • Skilled geneticists. Our genetic heart disease program is one of the only centers in the Southeast with adult and pediatric experts who can interpret the complex tests required to identify inherited heart rhythm disorders such as the long QT and Brugada syndromes. Pinpointing the cause of your arrhythmia helps us take a proactive approach to treatment, prevents the possibility of sudden cardiac death, and ensures your family is well-informed of any increased risk.  
  • Specialists at removing pacemakers. Our team includes specialists skilled in removing pacemakers and defibrillator leads when necessary. This complex procedure is performed alongside heart surgeons who can provide surgical support. Nearly 95 percent of our patients have their leads removed without the need for open heart surgery.
  • Expertise in optimizing devices. Cardiac resynchronization therapy can be very beneficial for patients with heart failure and arrhythmia, but some patients do not respond to the therapy at first. We use cardiac MRI to help identify problems and optimize pacing treatment.
  • Long-term care for implanted devices. If you have an implanted device, we provide comprehensive, long-term care to ensure it functions properly and is not subject to device recalls.
  • Options for high-risk patients. We assess and care for patients with prior unsuccessful catheter or surgical ablation. We seek to provide hope to people with complex heart rhythm conditions.
  • New ways to manage and reduce stroke risk. Our colleagues led the research studies that resulted in the FDA approval of new "blood-thinning" drugs (or anticoagulants) designed to reduce stroke risk. We are also implanting newly approved devices designed to prevent blood clots that can cause stroke. The devices eliminate the need for anticoagulant medications in patients who are at risk for bleeding complications.


When you have atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia or other forms of arrhythmia, prompt treatment is key to your heart health.


Duke heart rhythm specialists use many different types of tests and imaging to accurately diagnose your arrhythmia. Your doctor will choose which tests are appropriate for you.

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