Cardiac Balloon Cryoablation
When medication is not sufficient to control Afib, an irregular heart rhythm, a catheter ablation is performed to prevent the unwanted electrical currents from traveling from the pulmonary veins and spreading to the upper chambers of the heart. Eliminating these abnormal circuits stops them from spreading and causing the atrial fibrillation. St. Anthony Hospital's cryoablation program is one of the most established in the region and the technology is well proven.
How the Arctic Front® Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter Works to Treat Afib or Atrial Fibrillation
One method for treating Afib, or atrial fibrillation, is cryoablation using the Arctic Front® Cryoballoon catheter. As its name indicates, the Arctic Front Cryoballoon delivers a refrigerant through an inflatable balloon to freeze tissue and disable unwanted electrical circuits that contribute to PAF.
Envision the small catheter shown here as being tiny enough to be guided through the femoral vein (located in the groin area) and up into the heart. In the catheter tip is a liquid coolant that when injected expands to a gas, causing the tip to cool to an extremely low temperature.
Once occlusion is confirmed, the physician introduces liquid refrigerant into the balloon. The refrigerant evaporates and removes heat from the heart tissue at the opening of the pulmonary vein where the balloon is in contact with it. As a result, the tissue is scarred and may no longer spread the electrical currents that cause atrial fibrillation.
Subcutaneous Implantable Defibrillator (S-ICD)
Those at risk for arrhythmia-related sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, may benefit frombenefit from a breakthrough cardiovascular technology, the subcutaneous implantable defibrillator (S-ICD). S-ICD delivers the same protection as the implantable defibrillators that have been in use for decades, but offers an important advantage: it sits just below the skin. This eliminates the need for thin, insulated wires known as electrodes or "leads" to be placed into the heart itself, which leaves the heart and blood vessels untouched.
"The biggest benefit of S-ICD is that it eliminates problems associated with the intravenous leads," explains cardiologist Thomas Svinarich, MD, FACC. "Leads implanted in the heart and blood vessels are constantly moving. Electrode wires wear out and have to be replaced. Here, we have a subcutaneous lead — under the skin, on the chest — that isn't subject to those stresses. So we expect patient complications, in the long run, to be much reduced."
Candidates for the S-ICD system include:
- Younger patients
- Active patients
- Patients prone to infection
- Patients likely to have a long life span following implantation
St. Anthony Hospital is very excited to be one of the first hospitals in the region to offer the S-ICD.
Watchman Device Implant for Stroke Prevention
St. Anthony Hospital offers the Watchman Device procedure approved for stroke prevention for patients with atrial fibrillation. In addition, patients can receive pre-screenings and follow up care and imaging at various satellite locations at Avista Adventist Hospital, Longmont United Hospital and St. Anthony North Health Campus.
After being on blood thinners due to his atrial fibrillation, Don Binns was identified as a candidate for the Watchman Device. After the procedure, Don was able to be weaned off of blood thinners entirely.
Patients who are in need of an alternative to blood thinners, the Watchman or Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device can prevent stroke and help them get off blood thinners.
Questions about Watchman?
Please call 303-595-2627, we look forward to discussing the Watchman option with you.
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