Published Tuesday, April 6th, 2021 at 13:05 pm
Mater Private Network Dublin completed the first procedure using the POLARx™ Cryoablation System this month - a newly approved therapy for the treatment of patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AFib).
The POLARx – which includes a balloon catheter, steerable sheath, circular mapping catheter, and console – delivers cryothermal energy to isolate pulmonary veins to interrupt the irregular electrical signals that cause AFib. This was the first time this cryoballoon ablation was used in Ireland.
The new cardiac ablation technology can significantly improve the quality of life for patients and can reduce time spent in surgery and treatment. For medical practitioners, the cryoablation system allows for increased cryoballoon stability, improved sheath steerability and mapping catheter effectiveness.
Patients with AFib, which affects 100,000 people in Ireland, are often treated with anti-arrhythmic drugs. Cardiac ablation, a procedure to scar or destroy the tissue that is causing the heartbeat to get off course is a more effective treatment option, which targets the underlying cause of the abnormal rhythm.
The POLARx allows physicians to perform a type of cardiac ablation called pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). Research shows that AFib usually begins in the pulmonary veins; therefore, by isolating them, physicians can stop the abnormal electrical signals in the heart.
Research shows that patients with atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to experience heart failure, 2.4 times more likely to experience stroke, and twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease*.
Over the next 12 years, it is anticipated that there will be up to 340,000 ischemic strokes related to atrial fibrillation, as well as up to 4 million hospitalisations and up to 120 outpatient visits.
Data also indicates that those with an underlying medical condition like AFib could be at risk if they contract COVID-19.
However, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that early intervention and treatment of the condition can prevent serious future complications that may require lifelong treatment**.
Prof. Gábor Széplaki, Head of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Mater Private Network said:
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a decrease in the number of patients presenting for treatment or examination for cardiac issues. But these issues do not go away over time, instead, they continue to affect large elements of the public.
Atrial fibrillation is a prime example and if caught early, can be treated quickly and more successfully. Catheter ablation technology allows many patients to become completely symptom-free. Early intervention in atrial fibrillation has been shown to reduce the risk of serious complications of the arrhythmia***.
Considering the growing number of patients with AFib, the POLARx System provides me with a novel tool, which I can use in selected patients to ensure safe and effective treatment and ultimately, freedom from AFib****.
Our Electrophysiology Group performs up to 40% of Ireland’s atrial fibrillation ablation procedures. Their long-term care is provided by our expert team at the dedicated Atrial Fibrillation Institute, which is well equipped to facilitate social distancing and other Covid-19 restrictions. We urge existing patients who may not have been in to see us because of Covid-19 to consider doing so, as regular check-ups are important to manage the issue.”