CaroMont Regional Performs Minimally Invasive Procedure To Control Irregular Heart Rhythm

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September 13, 2013

CaroMont Health First in the Region to Use CryoBalloon for Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

Last month, CaroMont Regional Medical Center (CRMC) performed its first Arctic Front® CryoAblation—the first in the region to perform—to treat paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) occurs when the rapid rhythm in the heart’s upper chambers start and stop suddenly, usually for minutes or days at a time. Catheter Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used when medication fails to control AF. The goal of catheter ablation is to prevent unwanted electrical currents from traveling from the pulmonary veins and spreading to the upper chambers of the heart. The pulmonary veins are large blood vessels that carry blood from the lungs to the left atrium, and are the source of erratic electrical signals that cause the irregular heartbeat.

“Cyro balloon ablation has the advantage of being a faster and safer procedure compared to the traditional point by point ablation with radiofrequency energy, and has comparable success rates,” said Gregory Woo, MD with CaroMont Heart. “It is rapidly becoming the preferred technique for ablation of atrial fibrillation. We are excited to be the first and only medical center in the region to offer this therapy.”

During September Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month, CaroMont Health is raising awareness about this serious disease and the latest, most clinically advanced treatment options available to patients. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a growing epidemic that will affect more than 5.6 million Americans by 2050. Today, approximately three million Americans suffer from this dangerous form of irregular heartbeat and many more are left undiagnosed. Half of all diagnosed AF patients fail drug therapy, face double the risk of death from heart-related causes, have a five times higher risk of stroke, and can contract other serious heart conditions such as congestive heart failure. Additionally, since AF is often age-related, as the US population continues to grow older, the need for more effective treatment options is escalating.

“Although the use of cryoablation for atrial fibrillation is not a new idea, in my opinion, the most current technology is highly desirable over traditional radio frequency ablation (RFA) methods due to shorter procedure times, less anesthesia and risk of major complications,” said Omer Shedd, MD with CaroMont Heart. “At the same time, we are achieving procedural goals (electrical isolation of the pulmonary veins) that are at least as good and sometimes better than what could be achieved with RFA.”

Arctic Front® is considered safe and effective for treating PAF. Because it is safe, it has a lower risk of complication and has been used to treat over 20,000 patients in 200 centers worldwide. Findings from a large clinical trial found that almost 70 percent of patients treated with cryoablation were free from AF at one year, compared to 7.3 percent of patients treated with drug therapy only. Additionally, patients treated with cryoablation displayed a significant reduction of symptoms, a decrease in the use of drug therapy, and substantial improvements in quality-of-life factors.

For more information about AF and this new procedure, please call 704.83.HEART.

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About CaroMont Health –
CaroMont Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides inpatient and outpatient medical services within five counties and two states. CaroMont Health employs nearly 3,900 healthcare professionals with a medical staff membership of 455.  CaroMont Health is comprised of five entities:  CaroMont Regional Medical Center, CaroMont Medical Group, Gaston Hospice, Courtland Terrace and CaroMont Specialty Surgery.

CaroMont Health has been recognized for its quality and overall performance by the following experts:

  • Truven Health Analytics, 100 Top Hospitals for four years
  • HealthGrades, Clinical Excellence Distinction for four years in a row – 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013
  • Leapfrog Group, “Grade A” for Patient Safety for two years in a row – 2012 and 2013

CaroMont Health is located at 2525 Court Drive in Gastonia, N.C., and can be reached at 704.834.2000. Additional information is available at www.caromonthealth.org.

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