MedicineWorld.Org
Your gateway to the world of medicine
Home
News
Cancer News
About Us
Cancer
Health Professionals
Patients and public
Contact Us
Disclaimer

Medicineworld.org: Procedure works for irregular heartbeat

Back to heart news Blogs list Cancer blog  


Subscribe To Heart News RSS Feed  RSS content feed What is RSS feed?

Procedure Works For Irregular Heartbeat

Procedure works for irregular heartbeat
People who have endured the effects and risks of an irregular heartbeat for years can get long-lasting relief from a procedure that takes less than two hours, a definitive new study shows.

In the March 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center and the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy report the results of a rigorous study of radiofrequency catheter ablation for the chronic form of the most common heart-rhythm disorder: atrial fibrillation.

Eventhough the therapy has shown promise for several years in studies by U-M scientists and others, the new paper gives conclusive evidence of catheter ablation's positive effects on heart rhythm, symptoms, quality of life and heart function -- even in the most difficult-to-treat chronic atrial fibrillation patients.

In all, 74 percent of study participants who had the procedure were free of their irregular heartbeat a year afterward, and did not need rhythm-regulating drugs. They reported a steep drop in the severity of symptoms, and their hearts' left upper chambers returned to normal size. No side effects were reported, though some of the patients needed a second procedure to fully treat their heart rhythm disturbance.

"We have shown objectively, and with rigorous follow-up, that this procedure is a very good option for patients with symptomatic, chronic atrial fibrillation who otherwise may have to live with atrial fibrillation for the rest of their lives," says lead author Hakan Oral, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at the U-M Medical School and member of a U-M Cardiovascular Center team that has treated more than 2,000 atrial fibrillation patients using catheter ablation.

The study was a randomized, controlled trial, and used long-term automatic daily monitoring of heart rhythm, to assess the efficacy of ablation. It involved 146 patients, 77 of whom were randomized to receive a left atrial catheter ablation procedure known as circumferential pulmonary-vein ablation. The remaining 69 patients were randomized to a control group.

The study was supported by U-M's Ellen and Robert Thompson Atrial Fibrillation Research Fund, founded in 2001 by a Detroit philanthropist who has the condition.

More than 2.3 million Americans live with atrial fibrillation, which is caused by electrical "misfires" in the heart muscle that make the upper chambers of the heart quiver and pump erratically. This causes weakness and other debilitating symptoms, and encourages the formation of clots, putting patients at much higher risk of stroke.

Some patients have rhythm problems only occasionally, but most, like those in the study, have them all the time. Usual therapys for atrial fibrillation include electric-shock procedures called transthoracic cardioversions, which requires sedation, and drugs to regulate rhythm and thin the blood, which can cause side effects and often lose effectiveness. Moreover, these measures often are only temporarily effective, and the majority of the patients develop recurrences of atrial fibrillation sooner or later.

Catheter ablation aims to counteract the irregular electrical impulses in the heart muscle by delivering tiny bursts of intense radiofrequency waves to areas of disorganized and rapid electrical activity, thereby short-circuiting the aberrant electrical impulses. The catheters that record electrical signals in the tissue and deliver the radiofrequency energy are inserted through the groin of a sedated patient, and snaked through the major blood vessels into the heart. Then, the catheter head pokes through the septum that divides the heart vertically, and enters the left atrium, where ablation takes place. The radio wave heats the targeted areas of tissue, a process called ablation, but spares nearby tissue.

The new study was the first ever designed specifically to separate the ablation procedure's effects from those of medications and cardioversion, which are often used temporarily after ablation.

All study participants took amiodarone, a rhythm-regulating medicine, for six weeks before and three months after they were randomized to either the ablation group or the control group. Ablation patients were allowed to have a cardioversion during their ablation procedure and as needed in the first three months after the procedure, and they were allowed to take amiodarone for up to three months. Control-group patients had a cardioversion after being randomized, and were allowed to have a second one anytime in the next the three months. During those three months, they took amiodarone daily, then stopped. If their atrial fibrillation came back, control patients were allowed to resume amiodarone or have an ablation procedure. Fifty-three control patients opted for ablation.



Source: The University of Michigan Health System

Posted by: Daniel    Source




Did you know?
People who have endured the effects and risks of an irregular heartbeat for years can get long-lasting relief from a procedure that takes less than two hours, a definitive new study shows. In the March 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center and the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy report the results of a rigorous study of radiofrequency catheter ablation for the chronic form of the most common heart-rhythm disorder: atrial fibrillation.

Medicineworld.org: Procedure works for irregular heartbeat

Aggressive heart therapies still underused| Aspirin might prevent vioxx cardiac damage| Bariatric surgery to control weight in cardiac patients| Black immigrants from africa arrive healthier than those from europe| Exercise stress management gives physiological benefits for heart patients| Heart and cell signaling| Link between obesity inflammation and vascular disease found| Pig hearts in nonhuman primates a success story| Strategies to raise hdl cholesterol levels| Stress test identifies high risk people for coronory heart disease|

Copyright statement
The contents of this web page are protected. Legal action may follow for reproduction of materials without permission.