December 23, 2014) – Saint Francis
Hospital and Medical Center is now using a robotic navigation system to deliver
an innovative new ablation procedure treatment for atrial fibrillation, the
only Connecticut hospital currently performing this procedure. The treatment
helps patients’ hearts maintain a normal rhythm with a therapy that uniquely targets
and treats abnormal impulses of the heart.
in four Americans has atrial fibrillation. It generally affects people age 35
and older. When the heart does not beat normally, shortness of breath,
palpitations and dizziness can result. Medications can help, but may have
unpleasant side effects, said Aneesh Tolat, M.D., a cardiac electrophysiologist
at Saint Francis.
heart in atrial fibrillation is like a car engine that isn’t tuned,” Tolat
said. “It can lead to inefficiency.”
new technique is called FIRM (Focal Impulse Rotor Modulation)
ablation. It works like this: After the patient is sedated, the physician
places a highly flexible basket catheter through a blood vessel in the groin
into both the right and left atria of the heart. The catheter records the
electrical activity of the heart, targeting the location of critical areas that
allow for existence of the atrial fibrillation. The doctor then performs a cardiac ablation procedure in which the doctor burns, or
“ablates,” the areas of the heart that are specifically responsible for the
abnormal electrical activity.
In the past, doctors ablated atrial
fibrillation by burning the tissue surrounding the pulmonary veins (called
pulmonary vein isolation,) using a radiofrequency (RF) catheter. This technique
did not precisely pinpoint the exact trouble spots for patients, relying on a
more generalized approach, with success only about 70% percent of the time.
This new Topera
Mapping System provides physicians a diagnostic tool that, for the first
time, identifies and locates unique, patient-specific rotors, believed to be a
sustaining mechanism of cardiac arrhythmias. Studies have shown that the
elimination of disruptive rotors can produce excellent, long-term results with
a single procedure.
In published studies, cardiac ablations with Topera
technology have demonstrated a long-term success rate of up to 82%, even in
patients who are normally difficult to treat with the traditional procedure.
technology is potentially a real game changer,” Tolat said.
the safety of a Stereotaxis robotic navigation system and the addition of a
newer technique targeting rotors (FIRM ablation) for atrial fibrillation
ablation, some 2.7 million Americans now have a new option for treatment of
their atrial fibrillation.
About Saint Francis Care
Francis Care is an integrated healthcare delivery system established by
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, an anchor institution in north
central Connecticut since 1897. Licensed for 617 beds and 65 bassinets,
it is a major teaching hospital and the largest Catholic hospital in New
England. Other major entities of Saint Francis Care include The
Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, the Connecticut Joint Replacement
Institute, the Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut, the Saint Francis/Mount
Sinai Regional Cancer Center, the Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Center for
Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research, and Saint
Francis HealthCare Partners. Johnson Memorial Medical Center,
parent organization of Johnson Memorial Hospital, Evergreen Health Care Center,
and Home and Community Health Services is also a Saint Francis Care Partner.
Saint Francis Care’s services are supported by a network of seven major
Access Centers and eight additional medical office centers sited throughout the
region. For more information, visit www.stfranciscare.com.