Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Surgeons develop simpler way to cure atrial fibrillation

14.02.2007
Physicians have an effective new option for treating atrial fibrillation, a common irregular heart rhythm that can cause stroke. Heart surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed and tested a device that radically shortens and simplifies a complex surgical procedure that has had the best long-term cure rate for persistent atrial fibrillation.

The simplified procedure is termed Cox-maze IV, and the surgeons believe it can replace the older "cut and sew" Cox-maze III in which ten precisely placed incisions in the heart muscle created a "maze" to redirect errant electrical impulses.

"This technology has made the Cox-maze procedure much easier and quicker to perform," says Ralph Damiano Jr., M.D., the John Shoenberg Professor of Surgery and chief of cardiac surgery at the School of Medicine and a cardiac surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "Instead of reserving the Cox-maze procedure for a select group of patients, we would urge use of this device for virtually all patients who have atrial fibrillation and are scheduled for other cardiac surgery."

The device is a clamplike instrument that heats heart tissue using radiofrequency energy. By holding areas of the heart within the jaws of the device, surgeons can create lines of ablation, or scar tissue, on the heart muscle. In the older Cox-maze III procedure, the lines of ablation were made by cutting the heart muscle, sewing the incisions back together and letting a scar form. The ablation lines redirect the abnormal electrical currents responsible for atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm in which the upper heart chambers or atria wriggle like a bag of worms.

The Cox-maze procedure was developed at the University in 1987. In their latest clinical study, reported in the February issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University surgeons showed that Cox-maze IV is just as effective as Cox-maze III for curing atrial fibrillation, yet takes one-third the time to perform.

"The older Cox-maze procedure was a very complicated operation, and very few surgeons were willing to do it," Damiano says. "So we started working on new technology and helped develop an effective ablation device that simplifies the procedure. Not only is Cox-maze IV shorter, but with the new device the procedure is also much safer because there's a much lower risk of bleeding."

Atrial fibrillation affects more than 2.2 million people in the United States and can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance and palpitations. Compared to those without atrial fibrillation, those with the disorder are five times more likely to suffer from stroke and have up to a two-fold higher risk of death. For some patients, medications can control the abnormal heart rhythms and the risk of clotting associated with atrial fibrillation, but unlike the Cox-maze procedure, the drugs do not cure the disorder.

Damiano says their most recent study of Cox-maze IV is unique because the surgeons carefully matched the age, sex and cardiac conditions of a group of patients who underwent Cox-maze III in the past with patients undergoing Cox-maze IV. "This is the first documentation of the effectiveness of the ablation devices compared to the incisions of the Cox-maze III," Damiano says. "This operation is very effective, and we now use the Cox-maze IV technique exclusively."

Lall SC, Melby SJ, Voeller RK, Zierer A, Bailey MS, Guthrie TJ, Moon MR, Moazami N, Lawton JS, Damiano RJ. The effect of ablation technology on surgical outcomes after the Cox-maze procedure: A propensity analysis. Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2007 Feb;133(2):389-96.

Ralph Damiano received consulting and lecture fees from Atricure and Medtronic and grant support from Atricure.

Funding from the National Institutes of Health supported this research.

Washington University School of Medicine's full-time and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Gwen Ericson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses
02.12.2016 | University of Texas at San Antonio

nachricht Earlier Alzheimer's diagnosis may be possible with new imaging compound
02.11.2016 | Washington University School of Medicine

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Shape matters when light meets atom

05.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”

05.12.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>