STUDY: IRREGULAR HEARTBEAT PROCEDURE IMPROVES QUALITY OF LIFE
According to the March issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, people who have suffered the effects and risks of an irregular heartbeat for years can get long-lasting relief from a procedure that takes less than two hours.
Researchers from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center and San Raffaele Hospital in Milan report the results of the study for atrial fibrillation using radiofrequency catheter ablation. The new paper gives evidence of catheter ablation's positive effects on hearth rhythm, symptoms and heart function - even in the most difficult-to-treat patients.
Seventy-four percent of study participants who had the procedure were free of their irregular heartbeat a year afterward, and did not need rhythm-regulating drugs. The study was a randomized, controlled trial and used long-term automatic daily monitoring of heart rhythm to assess the efficacy of ablation. It involved 146 patients, of whom 77 were randomized to receive a left atrial catheter ablation procedure known as circumferential pulmonary-vein ablation. The remaining 69 were randomized into a control group.