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New procedure for treatment of atrial fibrillation - Boston


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  • New procedure for treatment of atrial fibrillation - Boston

    I just heard on the radio this morning of a new procedure being performed at Boston Medical Center for treatment of AFIB...only 3 hospitals in the country have performed this procedure...will it be an option for HCMers w/AFIB??

    read below:

    "Richard J. Shemin performs new surgical technique to help patients with artial fibrillation. BMC is the only hospital in New England, and one of 3 sites in the United States, to offer heart patients a new minimally invasive treatment for atrial fibrillation.

    More than 5.5 million people suffer from atrial fibrillation, the most common form of erratic heartbeat. The condition occurs when the upper chambers of the heart fail to beat effectively due to abnormal electrical activity. Left untreated, the arrhythmia can lead to heart failure or other neurological problems, such as strokes.

    According to Richard Shemin, MD, chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at BMC, patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation have limited treatment options. Medical therapy consists of toxic medications and lifelong anticoagulation is often necessary. Nonmedical treatments include lengthy electrophysiology procedures or open-heart surgery. While open-heart surgery utilizing the Cox-Maze procedure is currently the gold standard for successfully treating the condition, patients face the extensive, painful recovery period from a major cardiac operation.

    Hoping to spare patients this discomfort, BMC cardiothoracic surgeons will offer a less invasive technique using a device developed by Epicor Medical, a company that specializes in medical technology. Through tiny incisions on a patient's chest, surgeons insert the collar- and wand-like device placing it on the outside of the beating heart. The instrument delivers a high-intensity focused dose of ultrasound energy that creates a small scar that will block abnormal electrical signals from causing atrial fibrillation.

    Beginning in January 2005, the new approach will be available, giving patients an alternative to conventional therapies for atrial arrhythmia. "This technique is extremely beneficial for patients suffering from this condition," said Shemin, chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at BUSM. "The procedure takes less time to complete than open-heart surgery, or catheter based treatments, minimizes patient recovery time and has an 85 percent success rate."

    Additionally, said Shemin, the approach allows surgeons to solely focus and treat the abnormal area of the heart, while safely sparing other organs from damage, including the esophagus.

    "We are very excited to offer this procedure to our patients," said Shemin. "This state-of-the-art technology is revolutionary for treating an illness that affects millions of people."

    For more information, call (617) 638-7350.
    \"It is not length of life, but depth of life.\"

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • #2
    I'd like to see more info on this procedure. It may be beneficial, but I'd like to see how they target the problem areas. Also, what about the myocardial disarray on an HCM heart? Will this new procedure be able to work around that than the radio frequency ablation?


    Husband has HCM.
    3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.