Rochester Regional Brings New Cardiac Procedure to Region
Convergent Ablation improves outcomes for patients with recurrent or treatment-resistant atrial fibrillation
ROCHESTER, NY- The Sands-Constellation Heart Institute at Rochester General Hospital has brought a new procedure, called Convergent Ablation, to the region. The procedure is designed to help patients suffering from recurrent and treatment-resistant atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of heart arrhythmia, a disorder of the heart’s electrical system.
“Convergent Ablation helps people who have more persistent and long-standing atrial fibrillation when other procedures, such as traditional AF ablations, fail to correct the problem,” explained Rochester Regional Health Electrophysiologist Mohan Rao, MD. “This procedure presents a new option for people who have very difficult-to-manage atrial fibrillation.”
During an ablation procedure, doctors cauterize abnormal electrical tissue in the left atrium of the heart, creating small scars that stop the heart’s irregular electrical disturbances. Recurrent or persistent AF occurs when the electrical disturbance persists despite medical therapy or traditional ablation. To better and more permanently interrupt the electrical dysfunction that lead to AF, Rochester General Hospital surgeons and electrophysiologists (EP) perform Convergent Ablation.
Convergent Ablation is a hybrid ablation approach with an EP and a cardiac surgeon working as a team. First, while the patient’s heart is still beating, the surgeon performs an ablation on the outside of the heart through a small chest incision roughly one inch in size. Then, the EP uses an ablation catheter through the femoral vein to access the inside of the heart and perform additional ablation therapy.
“The data demonstrates this dual approach has a high rate of success. Many patients no longer require anti-arrhythmic drugs after the Convergent Ablation procedure. It’s a remarkable option for patients to significantly improve their quality of life,” said David Cheeran, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Rochester General Hospital.
Patients who undergo Convergent Ablation are discharged from the hospital two to four days after the procedure. After recovery, they report dramatic improvements in quality of life and their ability to exercise and enjoy other activities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate between 2.7 and 6.1 million Americans live with AF. In addition to being the most common type of heart arrhythmia, AF places patients at a significantly higher risk for stroke, heart attack and heart failure. Many people with AF do not feel symptoms. Others may feel symptoms such as abnormal or rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, weakness, difficulty exercising, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, fatigue or confusion. The condition contributes to an estimated 130,000 deaths in the United States each year.
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