DETROIT, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) is the first healthcare provider in Michigan to offer a new breakthrough technology designed to correct atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) in patients who struggle with this potentially life-threatening heart disorder.
The new FDA-approved, state-of-the-art technology – known formally as the "Arctic Front® Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter system" – uses a specially designed coolant to chill small areas of heart tissue, in order to better control the electrical signals which determine heartbeat rate.
Atrial Fibrillation (AF), the most common heart-rhythm disorder in the U.S., occurs when the heart's upper two chambers lose their natural rhythm and begin to beat erratically. This condition, which currently affects 3 million Americans and 7 million people worldwide, can lead to disabling or even fatal strokes, heart failure or heart disease, if left untreated.
The new "CryoAblation" (inactivation through freezing) technique is specifically designed to treat the most common form of AF, called "symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation" or "PAF." In patients with that form of AF, irregular heartbeats in the heart's upper chambers start and stop suddenly on their own for minutes or even days at a time.
The innovative and minimally invasive new procedure employs a "cryoballoon" (delivered to the heart through an arterial catheter) to bathe electricity-conducting tissue around the heart's pulmonary vein with coolant. The chilling down of these sensitive tissues prevents them from conducting the erratic electrical signals and thus helps to restore a regular heartbeat.
In the past, many AF patients were treated with therapeutic drugs or with invasive, often traumatic open-heart surgery to repair the electrical defect. But those approaches have often proved unsatisfactory. Fully 5