CONVERGENCE PROCEDURE FOR ATRIAL FIBRILATION (AFib)

This revolutionary new procedure treats persistent atrial fibrillation. And now you can access the care you need in Denver, Colorado.

This new minimally invasive approach for Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation available in Denver, Colorado, does not require a traditional open-heart surgical procedure

Photo of Denver Colorado Skyline and the Rocky Mountain Front Range in the background.No doubt you've been hearing the long television commercials about the blood thinning medications now available for Atrial Fibrillation. These costly television commercial spots are paid for from the proceeds of some of the most costly medications in the USA.

If you have Atrial Fibrillation, you are paying for each of these commercials every time you spend about $7 per dose to take your medicine.  In the USA, the pharmacy expense is the same whether you pay a copayment or the entire prescription cost out of pocket - about $5000 per year.  In fact, AFib costs the United States about $6 billion each year. Medical costs for people who have AFib are about $8,705 higher per year than for people who do not have AFib.  That is because treatment for AFib can include:

  • Medications to control the heart’s rhythm and rate.
  • Blood-thinning medication to prevent blood clots from forming and reduce stroke risk.
  • Surgery.
  • Medication and healthy lifestyle changes to manage AFib risk factors.

But worse than that, your risk for a fatal or debilitating stroke increases four to five times higher compared with stroke risk for people who do not have AFib. Strokes caused by complications from AFib tend to be more severe than strokes with other underlying causes. AFib causes 15%–20% of ischemic strokes, which occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clot or by fatty deposits called plaque in the blood vessel lining.

Risk factors for Atrial Fibrillation include:

  • Advancing age
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • European ancestry
  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Enlargement of the chambers on the left side of the heart

Patients with Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) have heart rhythms that are at a significantly faster than a normal heartbeat. Because Afib causes the heart to beat faster, blood is not completely pumped from the heart’s atria, increasing the chances of pooling and clotting. The clots put patients at high risk for stroke if left untreated.

If you are the adult child of a parent with Atrial Fibrillation and you are constantly worried about medication compliance or losing your loved one prematurely to a stroke, now is a great time time to learn about this minimally invasive procedure that's available in Denver.

Facts about Atrial Fibrillation

  • An estimated 2.7–6.1 million people in the United States have AFib. With the aging of the U.S. population, this number is expected to increase.
  • Approximately 2% of people younger than age 65 have AFib, while about 9% of people aged 65 years or older have AFib.
  • African Americans are less likely than those of European descent to have AFib.
  • Because AFib cases increase with age and women generally live longer than men, more women than men experience AFib.
photo of a map depicting incidence of Atrial Fibrillation across the USA.
U.S. atrial fibrillation hospitalization rates, Medicare beneficiaries aged 65+ years, 2007–2012

How we can help you

Medical Tourism Journeys now offers care coordination to Denver, Colorado for the Convergence Procedure for Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation for our clients living with Afib in a boutique hospital setting.

Our Approved Hospital partner is an award-winning, Joint Commission accredited hospital, known for comprehensive surgical and endoscopy services, heart and vascular procedures and other advanced medical services.

Our Approved Hospital partner and its medical team hosts many celebrities and foreign dignitaries and is very proud of its 60-year service to patients and their medical team that pioneered this procedure. It is and one of very few hospitals in the USA where you can undergo the Convergent Procedure to treat atrial fibrillation.  We are sure that you'll be delighted with the care and compassionate service they deliver.

Our Approved Provider in Denver, Colorado offers a new, minimally invasive approach does not require an open-heart surgical procedure. This new procedure restores normal heart rhythm in even the most difficult-to-treat patients suffering from persistent and long-standing forms of Afib.  In the past,  this persistent condition has been very difficult to treat leaving patients at high risk for stroke and requiring costly daily medication for the remainder of the patient's life.

The Convergence Procedure for Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation is performed by an Electrophysiologist (EP) paired with cardiothoracic surgeon to combine the best of both traditional catheter and surgical ablation treatments. This new clinical approach, available since 2015, improves the early and mid-term outcomes for the most challenging patients and reduces procedure times when compared to single disciplinary approaches.  In the past (2014), therapeutic options for atrial fibrillation (AF) included lifelong medications (i.e., rate and rhythm control medications, anticoagulants), cardioversion, catheter ablation and surgical ablation. Treatment decisions for Atrial Fibrillation were based on the type and duration of AF, the severity and type of symptoms, associated cardiovascular disease, patient age, associated medical conditions, short-term and long-term treatment goals, and pharmacological and nonpharmacological therapeutic options. A controversial Maze procedure was carried out during an open heart surgery procedure, but third-party payers often didn't cover the procedure as it was deemed for any indication including the treatment of atrial fibrillation because the procedure was considered experimental, investigational or unproven by CIGNA and BLUE CROSS and others.

The new multidisciplinary Convergence Procedure for Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation does not include the more traditional surgical ablation approaches that are significantly more invasive, requiring chest incisions or ports, and lung deflation. Heralded as the only truly minimally invasive option, without chest incisions, it allows for access to the back side of the left atrium under direct endoscopic visibility, without any time spent in an operating room. The ‘convergent’ is the one-two punch of external ablation of the back wall combined with internal ablation of the pulmonary veins, using the most efficacious technologies available. It is performed on a beating heart in the cardiac catheterization lab (shown above). During the procedure, new scar tissue is created intentionally on the heart in order to block abnormal electrical signals. The surgeon creates intentional burns on the outside of the heart by accessing the heart through a small hole created in the diaphragm with an initial small (1 inch) incision in the patient’s abdomen. The EP then threads an ablation catheter through the femoral vein in the groin to reach the inside of the heart to perform complex electrical-anatomic mapping and to ablate abnormal signals that occur in predictable locations on the inside of the left atrium (specifically in and around the pulmonary veins).

The primary advantage for the Electrophysiologist is the ability to isolate the posterior wall of the left atrium safely and effectively through this complementary access and ablation tool. The doctors utilize best practices to standardize new procedures to ensure ablation completeness and predict substantially better outcomes than have ever been seen before for persistent forms of Afib.

Payment for your Procedure and Medical Travel

  • As always, your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® would be pleased to verify with your insurance plan to determine in advance if your procedure (and possibly your related travel costs) will be covered by your insurance or employer or Medicare and obtain pre-authorization and pre-certification as may be required by your insurer.  If your insurer will not cover the procedure, we will negotiate a cash discount with our Approved Providers that can be paid by cash, check or credit card at or before your arrival in Denver.

Learn more about how we can help you arrange your medical travel to Denver for this new procedure that doesn't require frightening open heart surgery.  Just complete the simple form below and one of our Medical Tourism Journey Managers® will follow up with you or your loved ones to get everything arranged in short order.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why don't you reveal the name of your partner hospital?

Many medical tourism companies in the USA and abroad work as "patient brokers" - an illegal act in the USA and many other countries. As such, they are paid finders' fees and commissions to market their network of hospitals and healthcare providers.

These commissions and fees often amount to as much as 20-30% of the amount you pay for your medical travel. Most don't tell you that their primary duty is to the hospital or clinic when they accept these payments for their marketing and patient brokering services.

We work for you. As your trusted patient advocate, our primary duty is to you and your family.

We don't accept illegal finder's fees and commission payments from our network of healthcare providers.

We provide valuable services, convenience and expertise to help our clients travel to their chosen destination and their chosen providers in our our Approved Provider Network for medical, dental and other services they want or need. We are paid a modest fee for the time we spend and to cover the costs of inspecting our Approved Providers and how we use decades of expertise arranging medical travel journeys for our clients and coordinating their aftercare and measuring outcomes upon their return back home.

Can I use my insurance or Medicare for payment?

If your insurance or Medicare will approve the procedure and provide pre-authorization or pre-certification, we are happy to coordinate that for you.  Almost all of our Approved Providers in our extensive US network (as well as providers in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands) participate with Medicare and most popular insurance plans.

Our careful three-point check ensures that:

  1. The procedure is an approved and covered procedure for a covered condition.
  2. Our Approved Provider is eligible to receive payment in accordance with the terms and conditions of your policy.
  3. That the insurance company intends to honor your claim if you decide to travel out of your home area to receive care.

If we need to mount an appeal on your behalf to Medicare or to your insurer, employer or the Department of Insurance or other regulators (IRS, Department of Labor, etc.) our experts know which buttons to push, who to speak with and what to say to advocate aggressively for your entitled benefits. Usually, we can get an answer within 3 working days once we begin our process. To start the process, we need a one-paragraph form letter signed by you that gives us permission to speak with your insurer on your behalf.  If we believe we'll need the form, we'll send it to you to sign and return back to us.

Where can I travel for care?

Medical Tourism Journeys coordinates health and wellness travel to more than 110 countries on five continents. Currently, we don't coordinate medical travel to:

  • Russia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Libya
  • North Korea, and
  • many countries in Africa.

 

Who decides which providers are admitted to your network?

Mercury Healthcare International, the parent company of Medical Tourism Journeys and Mercury Health Travel maintains a network development team of experts in medical tourism who evaluate facilities, practitioners and destinations according to criteria established over the past 35+ years in the industry.  Our rigorous proprietary standards and benchmarking criteria are respected by employers, insurers, governments, our medical travel clients and their families and have been adopted under license by other medical tourism companies throughout the world.

How do you get paid for your services?

The valuable care coordination and other services we provide are paid for by our clients.

We do not accept illegal patient brokering fees or commission payments from any Approved Provider in our Network.

With One Simple Phone Call, You Get Convenience, Compassion, Competence and Continuity of Care

  • Your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will arrange all specialized travel for you and your travel companion, including air travel arrangements by our award winning travel agency partner, discounted hotel accommodations at a Mercury Health Travel Approved Hotel, and airport and hospital appointment ground transfers by private, chauffeur-driven executive sedan service.  Denver, Colorado is served by many regular and low-cost airlines with non-stop flights. You may also use frequent traveler mileage awards if sets are available for your chosen itinerary.  Alternatively, if you live within driving distance of Denver, your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will arrange any overnight hotel reservations and travel directions you may need along your journey.  Denver is also served by Amtrak for those who love the romance of rail travel. Your driver will pick you up at Denver's new Union Station on arrival into Denver.
  • Your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will also coordinate your admission to the hospital, all pertinent insurance details, gather the medical records from your pre-procedure medical clearance, medical records transfer, a brief internet conference with the medical team prior to confirming your app;ointment, and all local visitor concierge services in Denver.  They also take care of arranging your favorite snacks and beverages in your hotel room prior to arrival.
  • After your procedure your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will coordinate any light leisure activities and restaurant reservations in and around Denver, according to the instructions from your doctor.
  • Upon your return home, your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® checks in with you periodically to monitor and measure your progress, lab and diagnostic updates, your clinical outcomes, and satisfaction with your care.

To learn more or to get started, fill in the simple form or call us at 800.727.4160.

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INTEREST IN CONVERGENT PROCEDURE FOR ATRIAL FIBRILATION (AFib)