Valley Regional Medical Center
September 15, 2015

Brownsville, Texas – During Atrial Fibrillation Awareness month, Valley Regional Medical Center is educating the community on atrial fibrillation, or "AFib,” which is the most common type of arrhythmia. This condition affects over 2 million Americans, with 160,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Atrial fibrillation is characterized by an irregular and often rapid heat rate. Symptoms typically include heart palpitations, chest pains, shortness of breath, and weakness.

Patients with atrial fibrillation are at a higher risk for blood clots and strokes, and therefore require lifelong anti-coagulation medications, sometimes referred to as “blood thinners.” The most common nonsurgical treatment option for patients with AFib includes catheter ablation therapy to restore normal heart rhythm and significantly prevent AFib recurrence. Ablation therapy also reduces the need in some patients to continue taking their “blood thinner” medication.

On April 22, 2015, Dr. James L. Strickland, a board certified Cardiac Electrophysiologist who specializes in treating cardiac arrhythmias, performed the first atrial fibrillation ablation procedure using the new Biosense Webster Thermocool Smart Touch ablation catheter at Valley Regional Medical Center, and continues to perform more each month.

The new catheter technology is capable of measuring real time contact force, allowing for better procedure accuracy and effectiveness; as well as providing additional information for safer catheter manipulation,” said Dr. Strickland

“Valley Regional Medical Center is excited to be the first and only center in Brownsville to offer this new catheter technology to our community right here at home,” said Art Garza, Interim CEO at Valley Regional Medical Center.

On September 24th, the community is invited to join Dr. Strickland as he speaks about understanding and treating atrial fibrillation. The presentation will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Texas Room at Valley Regional Medical Center. For more information please call Mariana Tumlinson, Community Relations Manager, at (956) 350-7745.

About Valley Regional Medical Center

Valley Regional Medical Center is conveniently located at the corner of Expressway 77 and Alton Gloor Boulevard in Brownsville. With physicians representing over 25 specialties, Valley Regional Medical Center is a leader in a vast array of high quality programs, including advanced diagnostic imaging, interventional cardiac catheterization, open heart surgery, laparoscopic and endoscopic surgeries, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, women’s services, pediatric services and neonatal intensive care. Valley Regional Medical is a nationally recognized by The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center and our Emergency Department is designated as an Advanced Level III Trauma Center treating a wide range of emergent needs 24 hours a day. For more information on Valley Regional Medical Center’s programs and services, visit our website at

About HCA Gulf Coast Division

HCA Gulf Coast Division is a comprehensive network of hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, emergency centers, and diagnostic imaging facilities. It offers a complete continuum of specialized health programs and services that meet the needs of Greater Houston and South Texas’ residents and businesses. HCA affiliated facilities in the Gulf Coast Division include: 13 hospitals, 8 ambulatory centers, 7 off-campus emergency centers, and a regional transfer center that provides one-phone-call access and support for patient transfers into and out of the HCA Gulf Coast Division Affiliated Hospitals, as well as access to ground and air transportation within a 150-mile radius. For more information, visit our website at