first_img Author: Ivanhoe Newswire Published: September 21, 2018 11:04 AM EDT Updated: September 21, 2018 4:55 PM EDT ‘Holiday heart syndrome’: What is it and how to avoid it Recommended SHAREcenter_img It’s a condition that can make your heart race and put you at risk for stroke. But for some patients, medication can’t control atrial fibrillation. See how two top surgeons are teaming up to offer a new procedure to help patients!Tackling the heaviest weights was never been an issue for Malon Wickham, until a few years ago.Wickham said, “I was having a hard time breathing and I thought maybe that I was just getting older.”During a routine EKG Wickham got a big surprise.“My upper chamber was beating like 220 beats per minute,” Wickham said.David DeLurgio, MD, Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and Dir. Of Electrophysiology at Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital said, “Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia affecting patients in the developing world.”Medication can control most cases of a-fib. But Wickham was suffering from persistent a-fib, meaning he was at a high risk for stroke.Dr. DeLurgio said, “Ablation is an intervention designed to markedly decrease the chance of having recurring atrial fibrillation.”Surgeons either burn or freeze specific areas of the heart causing a-fib. Now two surgeons at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital are teaming up to improve outcomes for patients. It’s called the convergent procedure. First, the cardiothoracic surgeon makes a small incision in the abdomen to gain access to the back of the heart. Then, the electrophysiologist enters the inside of the heart to ablate the abnormal signals.Michael Halkos, MD, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Emory Healthcare said, “They check the work that I’ve done using their mapping systems.”The combined approach is proving to be successful.Dr. DeLurgio stated, “We’re finding that at least 90 percent of the patients have near complete or complete eradication of their arrhythmias.”Wickham had the procedure two and a half years ago. He’s back to the gym and his active life.Wickham said, “It’s nice to have a second chance.”Getting a-fib patients back in rhythm.Patients stay in the hospital for 48 hours after the surgery and recover at home for at least a week. Risks include injury to the esophagus due to the heat of ablation but doctors take precautions to avoid that risk. The converge IDE clinical trial is a nationwide study still enrolling patients. For more information, please visit www.clinicaltrials.emory.edu or www.stopafib.org New procedure helps patients control atrial fibrillation Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know.last_img