A Sunshine Coast-first procedure to treat patients suffering from atrial fibrillation, a common disorder of the heart, is now offered at The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital at Buderim.
The procedure, called cardiac cryoablation, works by freezing and destroying cells at the entrance to the pulmonary veins causing atrial fibrillation – once the disruptive tissue is frozen it can no longer interfere with the heart’s normal rhythm.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects more than 200,000 Australians. The condition can cause a fluttering heartbeat and prevent the heart from pumping blood around the body as efficiently as it should. This in turn increases a person’s risk of developing symptoms, such as lightheadedness, shortness of breath and chest discomfort. There is an increased risk of stroke associated with atrial fibrillation.
Watch the video below for more detail about the cryoablation procedure.
Please see your local General Practitioner about this procedure and ask for a referral to our cryoablation-accredited cardiologist, Dr Alana Harris.
About Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation, known as AF, is an irregular and often very fast heart rate. AF occurs when the upper chambers of the heart fibrillate. This means that they beat very rapidly and irregularly. Blood is not pumped efficiently to the rest of the body which may cause heart palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath. The causes of AF are often unclear. People with otherwise normal hearts may also develop atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common and one of the most undertreated heart rhythm disorders, affecting more than seven million people worldwide. It is estimated that half of all diagnosed atrial fibrillation patients fail drug therapy, and if left untreated, patients have up to a five times higher risk of stroke and an increased chance of developing heart failure.
About the technology
The goal of AF catheter ablation is to prevent unwanted electrical currents from traveling from the pulmonary veins (large blood vessels that carry blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart) to the atria (the upper chambers of the heart). The standard ablation technique for accomplishing this goal is called pulmonary vein isolation. During the procedure, catheters are used to terminate (ablate) these abnormal electrical currents and stop them from spreading and continuing to cause AF.
Medtronic’s cryoballoon treatment involves a minimally invasive procedure that isolates the pulmonary vein, a source of erratic electrical signals that cause AF, using coolant rather than heat (RF ablation). Delivered via a catheter, cryoballoon technology is associated with faster procedure times versus point-by-point, RF ablation. Arctic Front Advance™, Medtronic’s next generation cryoablation catheter features the new EvenCool™ Cryo Technology, which optimises the delivery of coolant inside the balloon. This freezes and destroys the cells at the entrance to the pulmonary veins. Once the disruptive tissue is frozen, it can no longer interfere with the heart’s normal rhythm.