Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney recovering following heart procedure

Mayor Kenney plans to be back to work on Thursday, according to his office.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is recovering after a procedure for a heart condition called atrial fibrillation, or AFib, oftentimes described as a "flutter" or rapid heartbeat.

"When you're in AFib, the upper chambers are beating incredibly rapidly and sending that signal down to the lower chamber making that chamber usually beat rapid and irregular," said Dr. Doug Esberg, director of the electrophysiology lab at Main Line Health's Lankenau Medical Center.

It's unknown where the mayor had the procedure, but his office says he is now recovering.

Esberg has been treating the condition in patients for 20 years now and said that if symptoms occur at all, they can be different in each person.

"Probably the most common thing that people will feel is a sense that their heart is beating faster and irregular and that feels uncomfortable. For some people it's a lot more subtle like they suddenly feel more tired than they did before. They get short of breath doing activities they didn't make them short of breath," Esberg said.

Esberg said there are a number of ways to treat AFib.

The mayor's office said Kenney will undergo anesthesia and receive treatment through an ablation procedure. This is where doctors insert catheters through the vein and into the heart.

The procedure can help alleviate the need to be on medicine long term.

"That catheter can be used to cauterize, basically burn away focused areas of the heart muscle. Areas that are responsible for the arrhythmia," Esberg said. "There are differences in how people recover, but generally it's pretty quick."

Kenney plans to be back to work on Thursday, according to his office.
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