DETROIT, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Detroit
Medical Center (DMC) Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) is the first
healthcare provider in Michigan to offer a new breakthrough
technology designed to correct atrial fibrillation (irregular
heartbeat) in patients who struggle with this potentially
life-threatening heart disorder.
The new FDA-approved, state-of-the-art technology – known
formally as the “Arctic Front® Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter
system” – uses a specially designed coolant to chill small
areas of heart tissue, in order to better control the electrical
signals which determine heartbeat rate.
Atrial Fibrillation (AF), the most common heart-rhythm disorder
in the U.S., occurs when the heart’s upper two chambers lose their
natural rhythm and begin to beat erratically. This condition,
which currently affects 3 million Americans and 7 million people
worldwide, can lead to disabling or even fatal strokes, heart
failure or heart disease, if left untreated.
The new “CryoAblation” (inactivation through freezing) technique
is specifically designed to treat the most common form of AF,
called “symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation” or “PAF.” In
patients with that form of AF, irregular heartbeats in the heart’s
upper chambers start and stop suddenly on their own for minutes or
even days at a time.
The innovative and minimally invasive new procedure employs a
“cryoballoon” (delivered to the heart through an arterial catheter)
to bathe electricity-conducting tissue around the heart’s pulmonary
vein with coolant. The chilling down of these sensitive
tissues prevents them from conducting the erratic electrical
signals and thus helps to restore a regular heartbeat.
In the past, many AF patients were treated with therapeutic
drugs or with invasive, often traumatic open-heart surgery to
repair the electrical defect. But those approaches have often
proved unsatisfactory. Fully 5