UT Health East Texas performs region’s first convergent procedure to treat Afib | News

 UT Health East Texas performs region’s first convergent procedure to treat Afib | News


Doctors from UT Health East Texas and Tyler Cardiovascular Consultants successfully completed the first full convergent procedure in East Texas. The minimally invasive procedure is a team effort between a cardiac surgeon and an electrophysiologist to treat patients with chronic atrial fibrillation, a condition in which the heart has an inconsistent electrical rhythm that results in an irregular heartbeat.

Symptoms of Afib include a racing heart, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness. While medication or catheter ablation can successfully treat Afib, other patients ’symptoms return or persist. Now, in the convergent procedure, these patients are offered another treatment option.

“UT Health East Texas is proud to be the first in the community to offer a convergent approach,” said Donna Bowers, UT Health East Texas Regional Director of Cardiology. “This is a new approach to UT Health East Texas, and we’re especially excited because it brings a new treatment option to those who previously didn’t have many other local options.”

The convergent procedure combines two types of ablation, catheter and surgical, to provide a more complete treatment without performing open-heart surgery. Success rates for correction of persistent Afib in patients who have gone through both stages have been reported to be 75 to 85% and these patients offer another option of local treatment.

“If patients experience Afib symptoms for a long time, or more than a year, even after treatment, they are considered very difficult to treat. For the most part they are left alone,” Raul Torres said. , MD, cardiologist and EP at Tyler CVC. ”[The convergent] The procedure provides an alternative treatment to keep these patients in a normal rhythm. ”

This procedure was performed in two stages. In the first stage, the patient is admitted to the hospital and undergoes the surgical part of the procedure. Here the cardiac surgeon will place a small incision just under the sternum to insert the camera and ablation catheter behind the heart. This gives the cardiac surgeon the ability to ablate parts of the heart that were previously inaccessible without opening the chest cavity. The patient will usually stay in the hospital for two to three days for recovery.

“By reaching the back of the heart we can provide a more complete ablation for the patient. This usually means a more successful operation with better long-term effects for the patient, ”said Andrea Cooley, DO, cardiothoracic surgeon at UT Health East Texas.

The second phase of the procedure was performed about six weeks later on an outpatient basis. Here the EP makes a small incision near the patient’s groin, and performs traditional catheter ablation to reduce the electrical activity that can cause abnormal heart rhythm. Patients usually return home the same day.

“The option of surgery helps complete the interventional cardiac electrophysiology aspect,” said Ashish Gangasani, MD, cardiologist and EP at Tyler CVC. “The main purpose of the procedure is to restore a normal rhythm.”

AFib is very common – about one in every 10 people over the age of 65 has the condition. However, patients with AFib often have other heart -related issues, such as heart failure or leaky valves. Other health problems such as smoking, COPD, sleep apnea, diabetes and obesity can increase a patient’s chance of developing AFib.

If you or a loved one notices symptoms of Afib, talk to your primary care physician. To find a doctor near you, call 903-596-DOCS or visit UTHealthEastTexas.com for more information.

About UT Health East Texas

UT Health East Texas provides care to thousands of patients each year through an extensive regional network that includes 10 hospitals, more than 50 clinics, the Olympic Plaza Tower, 13 of regional rehabilitation facilities, two free emergency centers, regional home health services covering 41 counties, an EMS fleet of more than 50 ambulances and four helicopters, and a comprehensive seven-trauma center care network, including the region’s only Level 1 trauma facility.

As a partner of The University of Texas System, UT Health East Texas is uniquely positioned to provide patients with access to leading research and clinical therapies while training and educating the next generation of physicians and other health professionals. UT’s nationally recognized System also includes The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, as well as three other major university medical centers located throughout the state.



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