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Texas Health Harris Methodist Heart Center Using Newly-Approved 'Cold' Technology to Treat Irregular Heartbeats
01/18/2011

FORT WORTH, Texas — Malcolm Graham has suffered with intermittent episodes of atrial fibrillation (AF), an irregular quivering of the heart, for more than five years. His suffering should end after he has a new minimally-invasive procedure that involves freezing balloon technology to treat his abnormal heart rhythm.

On Jan. 20, Graham will be among the first to undergo a procedure that uses the Arctic Front® Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter system, the first and only cryoballoon that is FDA approved to treat drug refractory recurrent symptomatic paroxysmal AF, a condition that causes the upper chambers of the heart to start and stop erratically.

“Graham has had little or no response to medication therapy and is an excellent candidate for this new procedure,” said Theodore Takata, M.D., cardiac electrophysiologist medical staff at the Texas Health Harris Methodist Heart Center in Fort Worth.

Arctic Front® Cryoablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a balloon catheter system to deliver a freezing coolant instead of heat to make circumferential lesions around the pulmonary vein. In contrast to traditional heat-based ablation, the freezing technology significantly reduces the risk of damage to critical structures adjacent to the heart.

“This procedure makes it possible for us to restore normal function to the heart in a safer and more efficient manner,” Takata said. “The freezing technology is less damaging to the areas surrounding the cardiac tissue and allows the catheter to adhere to the area for greater stability and prevent the reoccurrence of atrial fibrillation.”

For Graham, a 64-year-old retiree, this procedure should mean an improved quality of life. It will allow him the freedom to enjoy his retirement, something he has not been able to fully do because of his condition.

“I’ve come to a place where I don’t feel comfortable traveling with my wife because of my heart. Anxiety has become a part of my lifestyle,” Graham said.

Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common cardiac arrhythmias seen by physicians in the United States. Patients who struggle with AF often have high blood pressure and structural heart disease. If left untreated, AF can cause rapid and irregular heart palpitations as well as lead to both stroke and death.

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth is 724-bed, Magnet-designated regional referral center that has served the residents of Tarrant County since 1930. The hospital’s services include cardiovascular services, high-risk and routine obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics and sports medicine, neonatal intensive care, and trauma/emergency medicine. Texas Health Fort Worth is also home to the 100-bed Texas Health Harris Methodist Heart Center. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Fort Worth has more than 4,000 employees, 200 volunteers and nearly 1,000 physicians practicing on the medical staff. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/FortWorth.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 13 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Presbyterian, and an organization for medical research and education.

Texas Health is a partner in eight additional hospitals or surgery centers.

Texas Health Physicians Group provides a variety of models for engagement with physicians. Texas Health Partners is a joint venture development and management company owned by Texas Health Resources. Texas Health MedSynergies is a joint venture that offers physicians a range of office management and other business services to support their practices. Texas SingleSource Staffing is a joint venture designed to help Texas Health hospitals improve patient care by recruiting and retaining quality nurses and allied healthcare professionals. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.

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