First human use of new device to make arrhythmia treatment safer

July 16, 2008

On June 16, 2008, Barbara Ganschow of Palatine, IL, became the first person in the world to be successfully treated with a new device designed to make it safer and easier for heart specialists to create a hole in the cardiac atrial septum. The hole, created by the NRGTM Transseptal Needle, allows cardiac catheters to cross from the right side of the heart to the left side.

"This may seem like a small component of the overall procedure, but when you are maneuvering within the heart everything is significant," said Bradley Knight, MD, director of cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Chicago Medical Center, who performed the procedure. "This is a complicated and delicate cardiac intervention, so having the tools to control each step is something that enhances our confidence and extends the number of patients we can help."

Ganschow, 80, suffered from atrial fibrillation, an irregular, overly rapid heart rate. During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically, out of synch with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. This causes poor blood flow to the body, resulting in symptoms such as shortness of breath, weakness and confusion.

For Ganschow--an avid traveler who was remarkably healthy for the first 75 years of her life--the irregular heart rhythm first appeared five years ago, during a 23-hour flight back to Chicago from South Africa. "I just felt awful," she recalled. "It was a miserable flight."

She called her physician as soon as she landed. He promptly sent her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Her cardiologist tried to treat the problem with medications for a year, with mixed results, then sent her to a heart rhythm specialist at Good Shepherd Hospital, near her home.

He inserted a catheter through a vein in the groin and guided it into her left atrium, where he used it to deliver radio-frequency energy to ablate the "trouble spot" in her heart, eliminating the problematic electrical pathway that was causing the problem.

That worked--for three years. Then the abnormal rhythm returned. This time it was even worse. Ganschow began to feel tired, and often disoriented. "My legs would just give out," she said. Worse yet, it meant no more traveling. "I did not leave the house with atrial fibrillation," she said.

Because of scar tissue that formed after the first procedure, however, her doctors could not repeat the initial treatment, which required mechanically poking a hole in the septum with a long needle, then passing the catheter through that hole, across the atrial septum, from the right side of the heart to the left, where the problem was centered.

So her cardiologist at Good Shepherd referred her to the University of Chicago Medical Center's Knight, MD, a specialist in difficult cases.

The NRGTM Transseptal needle was designed for the increasing number of patients like Ganshow, whose previous procedures make it dangerous or impossible to cross her septum safely with the traditional needle. Instead of using uncontrolled mechanical force, this new insulated transseptal needle has a closed end that safely delivers radiofrequency energy to create a small hole in the atrial septum, allowing the needle to pass to the left atrium with increased efficacy and control.

Using this device, Knight was able to pass the catheter smoothly from the right to the left atrium so that the ablation procedure could be performed to eradicate the problem. Ganschow went home the next day and recovered quickly.

"I feel good," she said two days after the procedure. "It gets better day by day."

A week later, she upgraded that to "I feel fantastic. I have my life back and I'm so glad."

Less than two weeks after her treatment, she'll do something she hasn't considered since that long fateful flight from South Africa. She'll step onto an airplane, for a quick trip to New York. "I'm not 80," she explained, "when I'm not in A-fib."
-end-
About Baylis Medical

Baylis Medical is a world leader in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of innovative medical systems with applications in Interventional Cardiology, Electrophysiology and Interventional Radiology. The Baylis Medical Radiofrequency (RF) Puncture system is designed specifically to safely and effectively create a puncture in tissues with minimal damage to surrounding tissues. The pediatric and adult applications include transseptal punctures, treating conditions associated with pulmonary atresia and re-canalizing peripheral vascular occlusions. For further information please visit our website at: www.baylismedical.com

About the University of Chicago Medical Center

The University of Chicago Medical Center, established in 1927, is one of the nation's leading academic medical institutions. University of Chicago physician-scientists performed the first organ transplant and the first bone marrow transplant in animal models, the first successful living-donor liver transplant, the first hormone therapy for cancer and the first successful application of cancer chemotherapy. They discovered REM sleep and were the first to describe many of the stages of sleep. Care is provided by more than 700 attending physicians--most of whom are full-time University faculty members--620 residents and fellows, more than 1,000 nurses and 9,500 employees. The Medical Center, consistently recognized as a leading provider of complex medical care, is the only Illinois hospital ever to make the U.S. News and World Report Honor Roll, with eight clinical specialties--digestive disorders; cancer; endocrinology; neurology and neurosurgery; heart and heart surgery; kidney disease; geriatrics; and ear, nose and throat--ranked among the top 25 programs nationwide. The Medical Center was awarded Magnet status in 2007, the highest level of recognition for nursing care. www.uchospitals.edu/

University of Chicago Medical Center

Related Atrial Fibrillation Articles from Brightsurf:

Atrial fibrillation less deadly than it used to be, but still cause for concern: BU study
A first-of-its-kind study by researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) shows a decline in deaths related to atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) over the last 45 years.

Postoperative atrial fibrillation does not impact on overall survival after esophagectomy
Volume 11, Issue 25 of Oncotarget reported that Administration of landiolol hydrochloride was found to be associated with reduced incidence of atrial fibrillation after esophagectomy for esophageal cancer in our previous randomized controlled trial.

People with atrial fibrillation live longer with exercise
More than 100,000 Norwegians have atrial fibrillation. They should be actively exercising for their health.

Atrial fibrillation among overweight people is not due to fat
In a recently published study, researchers from Aarhus University document that the risk of atrial fibrillation is not linked to the amount of body fat, but instead to large muscle mass, or more precisely, a high fat-free weight

Eating more protein could help ward off atrial fibrillation in women
Women who ate slightly more than the recommended daily amount of protein were significantly less likely to develop atrial fibrillation (AFib), a dangerous heart rhythm disorder that can lead to stroke and heart failure, when compared with those who consumed less protein, according to research being presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session Together with World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.20/WCC).

Zebrafish teach researchers more about atrial fibrillation
Genetic research in zebrafish at the University of Copenhagen has surprised the researchers behind the study.

Personalized medicine for atrial fibrillation
The study, published in Europace, uses signals from implantable devices -- pacemakers and defibrillators -- to analyze electrical signals in the heart during episodes of atrial fibrillation.

Prescribing anticoagulants in the ED for atrial fibrillation increases long-term use by 30%
Patients prescribed anticoagulants after a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation in the emergency department are more likely to continue long-term use of medications to treat the condition, according to research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Anticoagulant benefits for atrial fibrillation decrease with age
The net clinical benefit of anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation (AF) -- one of the most important causes of irregular heartbeats and a leading cause of stroke -- decreases with age, as the risk of death from other factors diminishes their benefit in older patients, according to a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Research improves understanding of mechanism of atrial fibrillation
Mouse model studies show that noncoding DNA regions linked to atrial fibrillation risk can display long-range regulatory functions directed at Pitx2 gene and in this way predispose to the condition.

Read More: Atrial Fibrillation News and Atrial Fibrillation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.