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Texas Health Harris Methodist Heart Center Using Newly-Approved 'Cold' Technology to Treat Irregular Heartbeats|
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.
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